In my house, there are a lot of prescription drugs. Anytime you have a chronic illness, there are drugs that are a potential hazard for your grandchildren. Of course, we take care to keep medicines out of a toddler’s reach. However, few of us realize the danger we might pose to our teenagers and tweens with hidden drug abuse problems.
In recent years the drug of choice is now prescription pain pills. Opioids, most commonly, hydrocodone and oxycodone. These prescription drugs are most often prescribed for pain after a surgery, a broken limb, and even tooth extractions. They are easy to get ahold of. Chances are, someone in your family has an unused bottle sitting in their medicine cabinet.
Reports state that government agencies estimate 70 percent of addicts don’t have to go further than friends and family to get pills.
Grandparenting expert Susan Adcox explains,
“Younger users, lacking transportation and credit cards, often take meds that belong to others. They may mix medications, a practice that makes treating an overdose extremely difficult.”
This makes grandma’s medicine cabinet a potential snare for her grandchildren with drug abuse issues.
“Because of the conditions often associated with aging, many grandparents have a supply of highly desirable drugs. It’s important that they are knowledgeable about medication safety and take all precautions to keep their medications out of the hands of others, including their own grandchildren.
Precautions that should be taken include:
- Medications should be kept in a locked medicine cabinet or lockbox.
- Medicine should be counted periodically to make sure that none has been taken.
- Medicine prescribed for a particular illness or injury should not be kept for later use.
“One in six of those surveyed reported that every member of the immediate family had a substance abuse problem.”
Few families are lucky enough not to have anyone in their family touched by the epidemic of drug abuse. Even children from affluent families can become victims just as easily as someone trapped in drug infested neighborhoods. When you think about it, every neighborhood is riddled with drugs. Prescription drugs.
Adcox goes on to say that, in recent years poisoning deaths which are mostly drug related outnumbered traffic accidents. Now, it is the leading cause of injury-related deaths according to the CDC. It is also noteworthy the author adds, that this increase mirrors the increase in prescription drug abuse.
Indeed, prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in the veteran population. Until recently, the VA has prescribed opioids liberally.
Because we love our grandchildren, we think the very best of them. However, if we love them, we need to be sure that they don’t become part of the one-third of American families with a drug abuser in it.