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Actress teams with NCPA, Purdue Pharma on drug safety
October 21st, 2010
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Actress and parent advocate Catherine Hicks has joined forces with the National Community Pharmacists Association and Purdue Pharma to help educate the public about the safe storage of prescription drugs.
NCPA said this week that the television and film star, best known for her role on the TV drama "7th Heaven," has teamed with the association and Purdue to launch Safeguard My Meds, an education initiative that offers information about how to responsibly and properly store and dispose of prescription medicines to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands — especially children and young adults — and being misused or abused.
A national survey commissioned by NCPA and Purdue found that although most Americans (94%) think it's extremely or very important to safely store and dispose of prescription drugs, many people may not be doing everything they can toward that end, according to NCPA.
Of the more than 1,000 U.S. adults polled, 68% indicated that they keep prescriptions in an unlocked cabinet, closet or drawer in their household. Respondents most frequently said they store prescription medicine in the bathroom (53%) and kitchen (49%) — two potentially vulnerable, high-traffic areas where unsecured medications could be accessed by anyone entering the home.
"As the parent of a teenager, I know how important this issue is. Every day, more than 2,500 teenagers abuse prescription medicine for the first time, and they often don't even need to leave the house to find medicine to abuse," commented Hicks. "When we keep prescription medicine in our homes, we have a personal responsibility to safeguard that medicine. We can all make a difference by storing and disposing of our medicine in the right way."
NCPA reported that government statistics show that 70% of people age 12 and older who abused prescription pain relievers say they got them from a friend or relative, and one in five U.S. high school students say they have abused prescription medicine at least once in their lives.
"When used as directed, prescription medicines play an important role in treating a wide range of medical conditions. Patients must have access to prescription medicine, but with that access comes responsibility," stated Keith Hodges, RPh, of NCPA. "Through the Safeguard My Meds campaign, we hope that more Americans will understand how critical it is to safely store their medicines in their homes."
For example, the campaign notes that medicines at greater risk of being abused — such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and depressants — are also targets for theft and should be kept in locked storage containers. Other safe drug storage measures include taking an inventory of prescription medicines in the home at least twice a year; storing medicines in a cool, dry place out of the reach of children and pets; and never sharing prescriptions with anyone else. NCPA pointed out that pharmacists also can advise consumers on proper handling of medications, from dispensing to disposal.
Information on safe medicine storage, along with a variety of downloadable print, video and online materials with practical tips, is available at SafeguardMyMeds.org. Visitors to the site can also take the Personal Responsibility Pledge and make a commitment to safeguard their prescription medicine and help keep it out of the wrong hands.