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Keeping Your Home Safe & Drug-Free

As a parent, it’s normal to worry about your child encountering drugs at school, parties, or other social places. However, most kids who struggle with drugs discovered them at home.

To keep your house as safe and drug-free as possible, here are a few tips and tricks.

Keep Alcohol Out-Of-Reach

Even a small amount of alcohol can have dangerous consequences for a child or teenager. Protect your kids by locking all beer, wine, liquor, and other types of alcohol in a cabinet or other lockable container.

You should also note that some young people try drinking household items that contain alcohol. These items include:

  • Mouthwash
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Perfume and cologne
  • Flavor extracts, such as vanilla extract and almond extract
  • Windshield wiper fluid

Make sure younger kids can’t access these items, and remind older kids to use them only as directed. When ingested, they can cause serious health problems, including death.

Store Prescription Drugs Safely

When used in a manner not prescribed by a doctor, prescription drugs pose serious health risks.

For example, stimulants like Adderall can cause paranoia and high blood pressure, while opioids like OxyContin can slow your breathing and heart rate. These effects may be particularly harmful for children and teens, as their bodies are still developing.

To prevent your kids from misusing prescription drugs, store them in a safe or other lockable container. If possible, place the container somewhere young children can’t see it. Also, keep all pill bottles tightly closed.

For extra protection, track the number of pills in each pill bottle or packet. That way, you’ll know if any pills mysteriously go missing.

Properly Dispose Of Prescription Drugs

When you no longer need your prescription drugs or they expire, you might be tempted to just toss them in the trash. However, a child could easily find and ingest them.

Thankfully, there are much safer ways to dispose of prescription drugs. Many communities have drug take-back programs that accept most medications. To find one in your area, use this search engine designed by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

If you can’t find a drug take-back program nearby, ask your local pharmacy or police station if they accept unused medications. You can also safely throw most medications away by following these steps:

  1. Remove the drugs from their original containers
  2. Mix the drugs with dirt, cat litter, or another unappealing substance
  3. Place the mixture in a sealable bag, bottle, or other container
  4. Seal the container, and put it in the trash
  5. Use a pen to cover personal information on the original drug containers, and recycle them

Before using this method, make sure your medication isn’t on the United States Food and Drug Administration’s “flush list.” The drugs on this list have a high potential for abuse and other health problems. To safely dispose of them, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the drugs from their original containers
  2. Flush the drugs down a toilet or sink
  3. Cover personal information on the original drug containers, and recycle them

Be Wary Of Inhalants

Some kids and teens try to get high by inhaling certain household products. Known as “inhalants,” these products include:

  • Solvents, such as glue, paint thinner, or correction fluid
  • Aerosols, such as hair spray, spray paint, or aerosol computer cleaning products
  • Gases, such as those found in whipped cream dispensers, butane lighters, or propane tanks

When inhaled, these products can cause serious health problems, including limb spasms and brain damage. That’s why you should treat them like any other drug. In other words, keep them out-of-reach of young kids, and talk to older kids about their dangers.

Sources

National Institute on Drug Abuse — Inhalants DrugFacts

National Institute on Drug Abuse — What are the short- and long-term effects of inhalant use?

United States Food and Drug Administration — Where and How to Dispose of Unused Medicines

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