Prescription Drug Abuse & Overdose Prevention
- Put all medicines up and away and out of sight including your own.
- Consider places where kids get into medicine.
- Close your medicine caps tightly after every use.
- Talk with your children about the dangers of using medication without a prescription.
- Set household standards and rules for medication use.
- Do not share medication.
Disposal of Prescription Medication
Many adults invest in youth on a daily basis, and for some, it is a full-time job. New parents often work hard to make their home safe for their child. As children age, some of the more obvious dangers can be overlooked, such as access to medications.
Is your cabinet filled with medications used daily? Are they kept in a safe place where others cannot access them? Did you know that one of the most dangerous places in your home can be your prescription cabinet?
If prescription medications are not disposed of or stored properly, they could be accessed by small children, stolen, and/or re-sold by family members or friends. In fact, 70% of nonmedical prescription pain reliever users obtained their drugs from a friend or relative. Also, in 3 out of 4 emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the child got into medicine belonging to a parent or grandparent.
Last Resort Disposal Methods
If there are no take back programs in your area, follow these simple steps to dispose of most medicines in the household trash:
- Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds;
- Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag;
- Throw the container in your household trash;
- Scratch out all personal information on the prescription label of your empty pill bottle or empty medicine packaging to make it unreadable, then dispose of the container.
Flushing certain medications can be harmful to the environment, prior to disposing of any medication by toilet or sink, please visit www.fda.gov to assure the medications are safe to be disposed of in that method.
Prevention of Overdose Deaths
Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug (i.e. oxycontin, morphine, percocet, methadone, hydrocodone, heroin, fentanyl, etc.). When administered during an overdose, Naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and restores breathing within two to eight minutes. Naloxone has been used safely by emergency medical professionals for more than 40 years and has no potential for abuse.
The Good Samaritan Law
If someone is experiencing an opioid poisoning, you can administer the antidote naloxone to reverse the overdose. Call 9-1-1, begin rescue breathing, administer naloxone, and stay with the person until help arrives.
Under The North Carolina Good Samaritan Law, Senate Bill 20, those who seek medical attention for someone experiencing an overdose by calling 9-1-1 cannot get charged for possession of small amounts of drugs or drug paraphernalia that may be present at the scene of the overdose. Furthermore, an individual who is acting in good faith and administers naloxone to someone experiencing an overdose is immune from any civil or criminal charges as a result of administering naloxone.
Prevention Efforts in Hyde County
In 2014, the Hyde County Injury Prevention Coalition (IPC) was formed to address the issue of prescription overdose in the county. In collaboration with various community partners, the Hyde County Health Department applied for and received funds from Community Care of North Carolina to address issues surrounding prescription medications. Since the formation of the coalition, a number of changes have occurred:
- At the Hyde County Health Department, Naloxone is available to any resident, or friend/family member of any resident, who regularly uses or abuses prescription medications.
- Naloxone is now carried by first responders, sheriff’s department, volunteer firefighters, and EMS.
- An awareness campaign addressing prescription abuse and overdose is occurring throughout the county via various methods.
- Drug take back programs have been initiated in both sheriff’s departments in the county.
Take Back Programs
The safest and most environmentally protective way to get rid of unused or expired medication is by taking it to a drug drop box at your nearest Sheriff’s Department!
Hyde County Sheriff’s Departments
– Mainland Department: 1223 Main Street, Swan Quarter, NC 27885
– Ocracoke Department: Hwy 12, Ocracoke, NC 27960