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Friday, July 6, 2012

Taking Proper Care of Prescription Medication(s)

Many chronic pain patients are on different medications. Some are for the pain and others are for the condition(s) that is/are causing the pain and or depression. Many of these medications can be controlled substances, or have a street value as addicts have found they can give the “high” that they seek. Surverys asking teenagers if they have taken medications out of a family member’s medicine cabinet have shown that many teenagers have done just that. Also there are “parties” out there called “pharma parties” (aka “candy dish” or “trail mix” ) where people dump different pills that they get out of those medicine cabinets then just take a handful in an attempt to get high. These parties have resulted in overdose deaths from heart or blood pressure medications or even narcotic pain medications, psychiatric drugs, etc. all being mixed without any knowledge of what they are doing.

It is a chronic pain patient’s responsibility to keep their medications safe from theft. The best way to do this is to keep the medications in a locked box or safe of some sort, not in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom or a cabinet in the kitchen. All medications should be stored in a locked box or safe. If more people took their responsibility seriously less thefts of their medications would occur. As a chronic pain patient here are some tips to keep your medications safe.

  1. when picking meds up at the pharmacy, be careful to not advertise that you are picking up pain medications. Always check to be sure the medications are correct before leaving the pharmacy.
  2. put the bottles in a locked box or safe and make sure that you do not share the location of the key or the combination with others. Do not leave the lock box in plain sight either.
  3. remove labels from all empty prescription bottles before throwing the old containers out (or reuse them to store small items such as screw, nails, beads for crafts etc.) or recycling them
  4. shred the labels to ensure that someone going through your trash can not read the label and know you are on pain medication
  5. shred pharmacy receipts that list the names of your medications for the same reason as number 4
  6. Do this for all medication, both prescription and over the counter

By protecting your medications in this manner, you greatly reduce your chances of having your medications stolen by a family member  or friend. You also decrease the chances of drug addicts finding out what medications you are on by going through your trash.

You are responsible for how you handle your medicine and being careless is not an excuse, especially in today’s political climate of removing pain meds from people. The more often you have to call for lost or stolen medication, the more likely you will be labeled as an addict or diverter of your drugs. Now, just a single instance will be enough to be labeled and having your pain control revoked. So take your responsibility seriously.
Anyway, these are the things I do to protect my medicines, both prescription and over the counter. If I am missing anything, or anyone has ideas on better protections, please feel free to comment, or email to let me know!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Missy!
    I found your blog because you followed me on Twitter. I have yet to read a chronic pain blog that discusses the abuses & proper & safe ways of keeping pain & depression meds. This is a short but important post that all adults should read because we forget about the disasters that could ensue if children, adolescents, college-aged or the elderly took meds that are not prescribed to them.
    I have no children of my own, but I have 2 nieces & 1 nephew who are very curious young children. I do keep my personal prescription meds in a locked box, but not my over-the-counter. It would behoove me to at least put OTC meds in a closed container so that little fingers cannot open them, & then lock them away when they get over.

    Would it be all right if I tweet about this post. Tweet me at @moniqueliddle if it is all right.

    I'm so pleased to find your blog & to have met you.


Thank you for taking the time to read and/or comment on my blog. For people who are chronically ill and/or in constant pain, it can be difficult to socialize as frequently as we would like to do so. Talking with others online is a way for us to socialize, chat with others, make new friends, reach out to others in similar circumstances and many more positive effects.

Knowing that someone has read my posts and commented on it, helps in many ways. The biggest two being that it helps ease the feeling of being "alone" and that no one could possibly understand. Secondly, it reminds us that others truly do care and that just feels wonderful!!

Thank you very much for taking the time to read and/or comment on my blog, it really does mean a great deal to me and is helpful too!