As a kid I remember it was the spot for help after I had banged up a knee, knocked out a tooth or some other calamity resulting from the regular routines of childhood. Inside were the Band-Aids, aspirin, hair clippers and such. Those contents have changed though, and the mix is different than you might imagine. In the past decade with prescription drug overdoses soaring 430%, your medicine cabinet has a new look, and here’s what you need to know.
The Drug Enforcement Administration recently announced how people with unused or expired prescriptions can now legally return them to authorized pharmacies instead of stockpiling or flushing. With this comes the relief that there will be fewer opportunities for prescription narcotics to get in the wrong hands.
It’s important to remember, though, that it’s not just those pills that raise the red flags. There are a variety of dangers lurking in that old box.
1. Sleeping pills: Barbiturates and benzodiazepines are common household prescriptions millions of Americans use to counter insomnia. In the wrong hands, these can be swallowed or snorted for a dangerously addictive high.
2. Pain pills: Morphine and codeine are commonly prescribed for minor procedures like root canals or keyhole surgeries. These drugs change how your brain processes pain, and can become highly addictive well after the pain is gone.
3. Diet pills: Most people are looking for a quick fix to drop a few pounds and often turn to over-the-counter diet pills. Some contain stimulants comparable to amphetamines and can be swallowed or snorted for a dangerously addictive high.
4. Cough medicine: Dextromethorphan is a common ingredient in cough medicine that can be used in large doses to get high. One in 10 American teenagers has abused these cough syrups, making it more popular in that age group than cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, and meth.
The DEA’s new initiative for returning legal narcotics is a great step toward combating prescription drug addiction and accidental overdoses and reminds us that many of the medicines we keep in our medicine cabinets can be a danger to others. If an item in your cabinet is no longer needed, get rid of it.
As a recovered addict a dozen years on the sober side from alcohol and crystal meth dependence, I’ve devoted my life and career to helping others who struggle down that similar path. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, call Breathe Life Healing Centers today and let us discover together a plan for you or your loved one to get better. We treat all substance addictions including prescription medication. Call us with any questions you may have regarding medications in your cabinet. Be smart, be safe and be healthy.