Prescription drug misuse is a serious public health concern. Most people who began misusing prescription medications were able to get them with ease from the medicine cabinets of family and friends. This misuse is especially dangerous for prescription opioids and other medications with a high risk of dependence. We have seen some alarming trends, with 2021 being a record-breaking year for opioid overdose fatalities in Maine.
The good news is that we all play a role in prevention when it comes to this topic and can all safeguard our families and communities by practicing safe use, storage, and disposal to limit misuse.
Throwing medications directly in the trash, flushing, or giving them away to others are not recommended!
• Use prescriptions safely: use medication which is prescribed to you and as prescribed. Do not share with others or in a way other than prescribed.
• Store prescription medications safely: keep these medications out of easily-accessible areas. Where is your medicine cabinet right now? If you answered “the bathroom” or “the kitchen,” it might be time to change that. These are two of the most accessible areas in a home. If you have prescription medications (other than life-saving ones), consider locking them up in a lock box and putting that box in a different location.
• Dispose of medications: we all hold onto things longer than we should at times. Set some time aside to go through your prescription medications and safely dispose of ones which are expired or no longer needed.
Safe disposal methods protect you, your family, and our community by reducing the risk of prescription medication misuse, diversion into the community, and contamination of our drinking water. Safely dispose of your unused, expired, and unneeded medications.
About Westbrook Partners for Prevention (PFP)
PFP is a grant-funded substance use prevention coalition in Westbrook, Maine. The coalition is made up of diverse community stakeholders, collaboratively working to reduce and prevent youth substance use rates. PFP works diligently to increase awareness and provide education and resources to both the adult and youth communities. westbrookpartnersforprevention.org