Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medication abuse continues to be one of the fastest-growing problems among teens and young adults. This includes kids who would never dream of using illegal drugs. One reason is the easy availability of these medications. Most of them are free and accessible from the medicine cabinets of friends, family, or even their own home.
Check out these tips to help you and your family take charge of medications in your home, including a list of local sites where you can drop off unwanted medications on Oct. 26:
• Talk to your teen about prescription and OTC drug abuse. Be sure your teen understands that buying or using prescription medication without a doctor’s order is dangerous — and illegal. A warm, open conversation – where kids are encouraged to talk about their feelings and their self-esteem is bolstered – encourages kids to come forward with questions and concerns.
• Take charge of all medications. Keep your family’s medications in a secure location. Set clear rules about taking the correct dosage at the right time. Ask friends and family to keep their prescription and OTC medications in a safe place, too.
• Explain the purpose of each prescribed or OTC medication, including possible side effects. Keep in mind that although you may not have prescription medications in your home, your child’s friend or family may. The most commonly used prescription drugs fall into three categories – Opioids (Examples: Vicodin, Demerol); Central Nervous System Depressants (Valium, Xanax); Stimulants (Ritalin, Adderall). Stress that it is both illegal and extremely dangerous to share any kind of medications.
• Get to know your teen’s friends and their parents. Make sure you are all on the same page when it comes to drugs, alcohol and medications.
• Check with your teen’s school. Are they including prescription and OTC medications when teaching about substance abuse?
• Discard all old and unneeded medications. Mix discarded medications with either used coffee grounds or kitty litter, add hot water, then place in the garbage. Never flush them.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) along with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department is holding a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, on Sat., Oct. 26, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This free and anonymous service will give the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, and unwanted prescription drugs. For more information, call 714-647-4133. Below is a list of collection sites:
• Aliso Viejo: OCSD South Sub-Station, 11 Journey Aliso Viejo, Calif., 92656
• Laguna Hills: Laguna Hills City Hall, 24035 El Toro Rd. Laguna Hills, Calif., 92653
• Laguna Niguel: Laguna Niguel City Hall, 30111 Crown Valley Parkway, Laguna Niguel, Calif., 92677
• Lake Forest: City Hall, 25550 Commercentre, Lake Forest, Calif., 92630
• Mission Viejo: Mission Viejo City Hall, 200 Civic Center, Mission Viejo, Calif., 92691
• Orange: City of Orange Civic Center Parking Lot, at Almond Avenue and Center Street (across from St. John’s Lutheran Church)
• Rossmoor: Rush Park, 3021 Blume Drive, Rossmoor, Calif., 90720
• San Clemente: San Clemente Police Services, 100 Ave. Presidio, San Clemente, Calif., 92672
• San Juan Capistrano: San Juan Capistrano City Hall, 32400 Paseo Adelanto, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., 92675
• Yorba Linda: Yorba Linda Community Center, 4501 Casa Loma Ave., Yorba Linda, Calif., 92886
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