Prescription drug misuse is when someone takes a medication in a way it was not intended to be used. That could mean taking more than prescribed or taking someone else’s medication. Adults and kids are misusing these drugs. The most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows that 12% of Vermont high school students have misused prescription pain relievers or stimulants. These drugs can be addictive and cause serious health issues.
A major prevention tactic is to provide safe medication storage and disposal. Youth surveys show that two-thirds of the teens who misused pain relievers got them from family or friends. Many said the pills came from home medicine cabinets. Often people leave, current, old, and/or unused prescriptions in the medicine cabinet. Leaving opiate pain relievers where youth can easily access the pills without notice can cause major problems.
If you are currently using medications that were prescribed to you; monitor the number of pills to make sure none are being taken. You can also safeguard your medications by using a locking box or cabinet. If you are cleaning out your medicine cabinet or a relative’s cabinet, make sure you dispose of any unused medications. It is important to dispose of any drugs that are no longer needed. Proper removal of unused prescription drugs is highly encouraged and there are a couple ways to do it.
Rutland County has several disposal sites open all year. You can find one at the Rutland and Wilcox Pharmacies as well as Rutland Regional Medical Center. Additionally, the Rutland County Sheriff’s Office and the Police Departments in Brandon, Castleton, and Fair Haven all have permanent drop off locations. You can also request a free medication mailback envelope from the Vermont Department of Health by visiting their website: healthvermont.gov.