Healthy Living: Dangers of prescription drugs
You have heard about overdoses will illicit drugs, cocaine and heroine, but what about prescription drugs? Marcie Fraser tells us of the dangers in your medicine cabinet.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
If anyone in your family has been prescribed medication for pain, hydrocodone for example, it is critical to keep your eye on it.
"This is a problem of grandparents, and parents, and teenagers," said Jeffrey Brewer, Albany College of Pharmacy Professor.
Over the past ten years, the number of people dying from prescription medication overdose has exploded.
"The teenagers doubled, and the 50 to 69-year-olds has tripled, as far as drug induced fatalities," explained Brewer.
Seventy percent of the people who died from an overdose acquired the drugs from a family member who had a prescription and was taking it for pain. Hydrocodone and oxycoton are the most commonly used drugs.
Brewer said, "They are getting it out of the medicine cabinet, teenagers are having drug parties."
Most of the older people who have died from overdoses had been prescribed the medication by a doctor, but may have been confused and simply took too much. Another problem is that older patients tend to stockpile their medication and family members are getting their hands on it.
"Think about a medication review day at your household. When you change the batteries in your smoke detector, you look for expired medications in your closet," suggested Brewer.
A number of drugs are confiscated illegally once a relative dies.
"We clear hundreds of pounds, and many of the stories we hear, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Ethel died, and there are ten pounds of expired medications from her house," said Brewer.
Be sure to dispose of medication properly, and ask your local pharmacist if they have a medication take back day.