Keeping families safe through safe medication handling

Today is national Lock Your Meds® day – and we think this is a great time to remind people to keep track of their medicines and keep them safely stored in an effort to combat prescription drug abuse among our youth.

Sponsored by the National Family Partnership (NFP), Lock Your Meds® day considers the target audience to be anywhere between 20-80 year-old adults. The primary focus is on keeping prescription and over-the-counter medications away from drug abusers. Many parents and grandparents may be unwittingly supplying their prescription drugs to younger members of their families. By making the adults aware of the problem and showing them things they can do to prevent it, we can hopefully curb the abuse.

“We know that prescription drug abuse among kids starts with access to the family's medicine cabinet," said Peggy Sapp, president and CEO of NFP. "With more than 4,000 children and young adults experimenting with prescription drugs every day, this day is intended as a wakeup call for all parents to take responsibility for what is happening in their home and lock up their prescription medications. Parents literally hold the key to their children's drug-free future."

Parkview Noble Hospital Pharmacy Manager Kelly Balyeat, Pharm. D, also agrees with the concept and promotion of Lock Your Meds® day. She shared that she recently read that the United States spends an estimated $484 billion on treating drug abuse and addictions and some of the most addictive drugs are medications obtained from a pharmacy. “This is a great reminder for families to look at their medicine cabinets and lock up or keep a tight control on their prescriptions for the protection of their younger family members,” she added.

Balyeat offers a monthly Brown Bag with a Pharmacist at which members of the community can schedule an appointment to meet with her and bring in their prescription and over the counter medications to go over everything with her. “Because people often see several different doctors, I look for any interactions or complications that could be caused from their various medications,” she explained. “I also like to make sure they are taking their meds correctly and storing them safely.”

The next Brown Bag with a Pharmacist will be Thursday, Nov. 17 at the Parkview Center for Healthy Living, located on the Parkview Noble Hospital campus. For more information and to schedule your appointment call 260-347-8125.

National Family Partnership urges parents and family members to take the following steps to prevent teen prescription drug abuse:

  • Lock your prescription medication and prevent abuse or misuse by securing the medication in your home.
  • Take inventory of your current medications and periodically check that nothing is missing.
  • Educate yourself and your children about the most commonly abused types of prescription medications and communicate the dangers to your child regularly.
  • Set clear rules and monitor behavior by expressing your disapproval of using prescription drugs without a prescription.
  • Properly dispose of old and unused medications

Proper disposal of medications.
For years, healthcare workers have been asked by patients what to do with leftover or expired medications. The old theory of flushing them down the toilet isn’t recommended.

The Allen County TRIAD sponsors a year-round medication collection program, with support from local police and sheriff’s departments. Collection boxes are available at the following police and sheriff posts in Allen County:

  • Huntertown Town Hall
    15617 Lima Road
    Phone: 637-5058
    Hours: Mon. – Fri., 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Indiana State Police Post
    5811 Ellison Road
    Phone: 432-8661
    Hours: Open 24/7 in the lobby
  • Fort Wayne Police Department
    One East Main Street Lobby
    Phone: 427-1222
    Hours: Mon. – Fri., 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • New Haven Police Department
    815 Lincoln Highway East
    Phone: 748-7080
    Hours: Open 24/7 in the lobby

Residents are reminded, only pills are accepted through the Allen County TRIAD program. Liquid medications can be dried by adding sawdust, kitty litter, or flour, and then thrown away. For more information call TRIAD at 260-469-3036.

For Noble County residents, Drug Free Noble County (DFNC) has come up with a solution.

In partnership with local law enforcement and the Northeast Indiana Solid Waste Management District, DFNC has established five permanent drop box locations for people to drop old or expired drugs.

The drop-off locations in Noble County are:

  • Avilla Police Department
  • Kendallville Police Department
  • Ligonier Police Department
  • Noble County Sheriff’s Department in Albion
  • Rome City Police Department

Items that can be placed in the drop-boxes include prescription medications; controlled substances; over-the-counter medicines; pet medications; medication samples; vitamins and supplements; medicated ointments, lotions, creams and oils; and liquid medications in leak-proof containers.

The items not allowed in the drop boxes are needles or sharps of any kind; syringes with needles; thermometers; IV bags; bloody or infectious waste or personal care products.

For more information, contact Drug Free Noble County at 260-636-2320 or pick up a brochure about the drop boxes at Parkview Noble Hospital. Residents in areas other than Allen and Noble County are advised to contact their local law enforcement agencies for guidance on medication disposals.


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