Anyone at any time can fall into the cycle of prescription drug abuse. Addiction ruins lives and tears families apart, but help is available for those who need it, and there are many ways to ensure your loved ones stay at a low risk for developing an addiction. Family involvement is vital to reducing addiction rates, and the 5-Step American Medicine Chest Challenge is an event devised to include families in the fight against prescription drug abuse. The challenge asks families to participate in five steps designed to eliminate leftover medications from the homes of many Americans throughout the country.
The American Medicine Chest Challenge
The American Medicine Chest Challenge is an annual event that happens on the second Saturday of November. Families can collect any leftover or expired prescription medications with potentially high risks of addiction and drop them off at a designated location in their area to be disposed of so as not to keep them easily accessible in the home. Many of these medication drop-off locations are also open year-round.
These five simple steps can help save many lives now and in the future from things like addiction, accidental overdose, and other complications from the misuse of medications.
Step 1: Take Inventory of Prescription and OTC Medications
The first challenge step requires that families take inventory of their medicine cabinets. This would include any prescriptions used to handle pain, anxiety, or learning disabilities. Knowing what medications and how much of them are in your home will make it easier to tell if someone is using more than they should.
Step 2: Secure Your Medicine
After taking inventory, families are then asked to secure their medicine cabinet. This means installing a lock or, in some way, ensuring that other people do not have access to the cabinet and its contents at all times and someone is monitoring use.
Step 3: Dispose of Any Unused, Unwanted, or Expired Medications at a Disposal Site
The third step requires that people dispose of their unused medications properly at prescription collection sites. Experts agree that this action is vital to ensuring that no one has access to the highly addictive narcotics that some people have in their medicine cabinets. The closest disposal site near you can be located online.
Step 4: Do Not Share Your Medicine
The fourth step simply consists of not sharing your prescription medications with anyone and understanding that it is very important to take prescribed medications as they’re intended and for as long as they’re intended. No one but you should have access to medications that were explicitly prescribed to you.
Step 5: Talk to Your Children About the Dangers of Prescription Drug Addiction
Finally, the last step is talking to children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Having children participate in the 5-step challenge is advised so they can understand the importance of being safe with prescription medication.
“With over 2,000 community and law enforcement partners nationwide, an awakening to the dangers of prescription drug abuse and a call to action to safely dispose of unused, unwanted, and unneeded medicine is continuing,” explained Angelo M. Valente, who is heading the challenge.
What to Do If You Suspect a Loved One Is Abusing Prescription Drugs
Addiction can happen to anyone at any point in life, and sometimes our best efforts just can’t prevent it. There are several warning signs and symptoms that someone is abusing prescription drugs, and knowing what to look for is essential to intervening and getting them the help they need to break their addiction.
Signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse and addiction include:
- Taking higher doses of a medication for longer than directed
- Drug-seeking behavior like doctor shopping or stealing from medicine cabinets
- Seeming intoxicated, lethargic, or overly energetic
- Changes in appetite and sleeping patterns
- Hostility or agitation
- Mood swings and withdrawal symptoms when medication is unavailable
- Crushing or breaking pills instead of taking them as directed
- Lying, secrecy, withdrawal, or isolation
- Stashing medications around the living space
- Problems at work, home, or school due to prescription drug abuse
Additional symptoms can vary among types of medications being abused, such as sedatives, painkillers, or stimulants. Still, no matter what, it is crucial to get an individual help as soon as possible if they are abusing dangerous prescription medications. Getting them into a medical detox at an addiction treatment center is the best and safest first step you could take. From detox, they will enter treatment, where they will learn how to live with addiction and cope with triggers in a healthy way to maintain their sobriety and have a successful recovery.
Get Effective Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment at Gulf Breeze Recovery
When you are ready to take the first step in your recovery journey or suspect a loved one is struggling with addiction, contact us at 833.551.2304. We are here to help, and our caring, professional staff is ready to guide you every step of the way as you break addiction and take back control of your life. Don’t wait.