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Healthy You

What’s in your medicine cabinet?

Friday, March 23, 2012 1:06 PM

The contents of your medicine cabinet—if not used properly—could be potentially dangerous or even deadly. Common items such as vitamins, antacids and aspirin can all be misused and cause harm. However, the most commonly misused drugs are opiods, prescribed for pain relief; central nervous system depressants used for anxiety or sleep regulation; and stimulants most commonly prescribed for ADD or ADHD.

The Doreen E. Chapman Center at NorthShore reports that the two groups that are most vulnerable to misuse or abuse these drugs are teenagers and the elderly. The Center offers the following tips to help avoid misuse:

  • Talk to your teenagers and ‘senior’ parents about the dangers of medications. Explain to them the side effects that are possible. Tell your elderly parents that they should speak with their health care provider about all of their prescription information to avoid adverse side effects.
  • Remind your teenagers that prescriptions drugs have the same potential for abuse and dependence as street drugs. Pills should not be taken simply to ease ailments.
  • Inform the “over 65” group that drugs should not be combined with other medications (unless previous conversations with their physician have been made and approved) or alcohol.

What items do you have in your medicine cabinet? What do you do to ensure that these items are not being misused or abused?