“There’s no place like home for the holidays,” Karen Carpenter once sang. Unfortunately, that warm notion falls short for families affected by addiction. Some parents will pay a visit to their child who is undergoing inpatient treatment while others will have to explain to friends and family why everyone isn’t present at the dinner table. Many more households will have additional responsibilities placed upon them because they are playing host to this year’s Christmas Eve gathering — and there’s a whole checklist associated with that duty. It’s this latter issue that Lighthouse Recovery Institute wants to address because unsecured medication in the bathroom cabinet or pantry can go missing all too easily.
According to a Nov. 8, 2018 article from DailyNurse.com, safe storage of opioid-based medications has never been more important. That’s because abuse of painkillers such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, and morphine has turned into a deadly epidemic in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fatal overdoses on prescription opioids claimed the lives of 200,000 Americans between 1999 and 2016.
What does “safe storage” of opioids entail?
According to DailyNurse.com, those who’ve been prescribed painkillers as a medication must “store medicines in a locked cabinet between doses and keep medications in their original containers, to prevent unintended use.”
A guest who is suffering from addiction may very likely excuse themselves to use the bathroom only to rummage through what’s readily available. To prevent a tragedy, keep medication out of reach, out of sight and “lock the safety cap consistently after each use.”
To “reduce the chance of misuse,” it’s best to find local medication take-back programs that allow patients to drop off half-full pill bottles they no longer need. This will stop drugs from getting into the wrong hands long before holiday party plans are in place.
To that last point, a November 2018 Consumer Reports article found that far too many patients are taking prescription drugs longer than recommended and even for unsafe durations. This, according to a study of 50,000 individuals, means people could cause an adverse reaction as more prescribed drugs are brought into the mix over time. However, having a medicine cabinet full of pill bottled could even prove fatal over the holidays. For these reasons, Lighthouse Recovery Institute implores hosts of parties to keep everything out of sight and out of mind.
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