Read part 1.
To help you be certain that your teen doesn’t become the one in five teens that takes a prescription drug that has not been prescribed to him or her, it is important that you do the following:
Safeguard all prescription medicine. Monitor quantities and control your teen’s access.
Take note of how many pills are in a bottle or pill packet, and keep track of refills. This goes for your own medication, as well as for your teen and other members of your household. If you find you have to refill prescriptions more often than expected, there could be a real problem—someone may be taking your medication without your knowledge. If your teen has been prescribed a drug, be sure to monitor dosages and refills. This is especially important for pain medications and ADHD medication, as they are frequently bought and sold among teens.
Set clear rules for teens about drug use.Make sure your teen uses prescription drugs only as directed by a medical provider. Make sure your teen knows not to share his or her medicine with anyone. Discuss with your teen appropriate responses he or she can give if your teen is pressured to share medicine.
Be a good role model by following these same rules with your own medicines. Examine your own behavior to ensure you set a good example. If you misuse your prescription drugs, such as share them with your kids, or abuse them, your teen will take notice. Avoid sharing your drugs and always follow your medical provider’s instructions.
Properly conceal and dispose of old or unneeded medicines. So that teens or others don’t take your unneeded medicines out of the trash, you can mix them with an undesirable substance (like used coffee grounds or kitty litter) and put the mixture in an empty can or bag. Unless the directions say otherwise, do NOT flush medications down the drain or toilet because the chemicals can pollute the water supply. Also, remove any personal, identifiable information from prescription bottles or pill packages before you throw them away.
Ask friends and family to safeguard their prescription drugs. Make sure your friends and relatives, especially grandparents, know about the risks, too, and encourage them to regularly monitor their own medicine cabinets. Follow up with your teen’s school administration to find out what they are doing to address issues of prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse in schools.
Check for Approved State and Local Collection Programs. Another option to dispose of unneeded medications is to check for approved state and local collection alternatives such as community based household hazardous waste collection programs. In Los Angeles, you may be able to take your unused medications to your community pharmacy or other location for disposal. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Departments of Public Health and Public Works present the “Safe Drug Drop-Off” Program.” The program provides an opportunity for residents to safely and anonymously surrender any unused or expired prescriptions, over the counter medications, “SHARPS” (needles), or any other controlled substances.