Poison and Abuse Prevention

Protect Your Family and the Community

When unused and expired medications remain in your medicine cabinet, they are accessible to nearly anyone that comes into your home.

* Nationally, an estimated 71,000 children under the age of 18 are seen in emergency rooms each year because of medication poisonings. Over 80 percent of these visits result from an unsupervised child finding and consuming medications.

* Child resistant packaging is just that - resistant. In fact, children as young as three years old can access "child-proof" caps and packages wthin 10 minutes. Because some medications look like candy, young children are especially vulnerable.

* Each day, 2,700 teenagers abuse a prescription drug for the first time. Unfortunately, many of those drugs are found in the home.

* One in three teens report having a close friend who abuses prescription pain medication to get high, or being offered a prescription or over-the-counter medicine for the purpose of abuse. Ever heard of a "skittles party?" At these parties, teens come together with medications they have acquired, likely from a friend or relative's medicine cabinet, and mix all of the medications together. They then take turns swallowing a handful of medications, often with alcohol. Removing unused and expired medications from your home and keeping those that you do need locked up or under close watch can prevent these types of abuse events from occuring.

Questions? E-mail medicationsafety@stlcop.edu.