Throughout the United States more cities have been taking place in an event known as Operation Medicine Cabinet. OMC is a “take back” program that allows people to get rid of their unnecessary or expired prescription and over-the-counter medication. The event takes place at certain local drug stores and is open to anyone during the specified time and day. All the events are monitored by the local law enforcement and have been extremely successful throughout the country.
Over the counter and prescription drug abuse is on a rapid rise, especially amongst teenagers. Abusers of OTC medication either buy medication, because it is legal, or steal from others medicine cabinets. The most common abused prescription medications are opioids which treat pain, CNS depressants which treat anxiety and sleep disorder and finally stimulants which treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Dextromethorphan (DXM) is the main ingredient found in OTC cough and cold medications. Dextromethorphan overdose is what gives the mind altering effect abusers look for. Abuse of prescription medication is relatively new but already has made a large impact on society. In a survey it is estimated 6.9 million people (2.8% of the population) aged 12 or older used prescription medication for non-medical purposes. This activity leads to “pharm parties” where people would bring in prescription medication and mix it. Then the party members would consume the drugs. The abuse leads to dizziness, nausea, impaired judgment, hot flushes, hallucinations, seizures, brain damage, and death.
It is important to educate your children about the dangers of over the counter drug abuse. Look for signs of abuse in your kids and keep a strict tab on the contents of your medicine cabinet. That is why having events like Operation Medicine Cabinet are so important because they help curb over-the-counter and prescription drug abuse by giving you an opportunity to safely remove your medication.