National Community Pharmacists Association and Purdue Pharma Urge Americans to Safeguard Rx Medicines This Holiday Season
Alexandria, Va. - Dec. 5, 2012 During the busy holiday celebrations and social gatherings, Americans will welcome many visitors into their homes. Prescription medications that are easily accessible have the potential to be misused and abused by anyone entering the home—including teens and young adults. Seventy percent of people age 12 and older who abused prescription pain relievers say they got them from a friend or relative.1
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and Purdue Pharma L.P. are working together to remind parents, grandparents, and other family members about simple—yet important—steps that can be taken to protect prescription medicines this holiday season through their national educational initiative, Safeguard My Meds.
"As a community pharmacist and mother, I understand how critical it is to keep prescription medicines from falling into the wrong hands," said Michele Belcher, RPh, NCPA second vice president and owner of Grants Pass Pharmacy, Inc. in Grants Pass, OR. "Every day more than 2,500 teenagers abuse prescription medication for the first time. Proper storage and disposal of prescription medicines in the home can play a vital role in preventing misuse and abuse."2
A national survey showed an overwhelming majority of Americans (94%) understand it is extremely or very important to safely store and dispose of prescription medicine. However, many can do more in order to protect their medicines:3
- More than two-thirds (68%) indicated they keep prescription medicine in an unlocked cabinet, closet, or drawer in their household.
- Respondents most frequently said they store prescription medicine in the bathroom (53%) and kitchen (49%)—two potentially vulnerable, high-traffic areas.
Belcher points out that there are several easy steps that can be taken to protect prescription medicines, including:
- Use a locked storage container to store prescription medicines at greater risk of being abused—pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and anti-depressants. These medicines are targets for theft by anyone who enters your home, so extra precautions should be taken.
- Keep track of medications with the Medicine Inventory Sheet—one is available on www.SafeguardMyMeds.org.
- Take inventory of prescription medicines at least twice a year, such as when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.
Go to www.SafeguardMyMeds.org to access additional information on safe medicine storage through downloadable print, video, and online materials. Visitors are also encouraged to take the Personal Responsibility Pledge and make a commitment to safeguard their prescription medicine.
About the Survey
The survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation—Infogroup/ORC, a national research firm on behalf of the National Community Pharmacists Association and Purdue Pharma to assess knowledge and behavior about prescription medicine safety and disposal. Telephone interviews among a projectable national sample of 1,010 adults, including 503 men and 507 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States, were conducted between August 27-30, 2010. The margin of error for results based on the entire sample of 1,010 is plus or minus three percentage points.
About the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA)
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent an $88.5 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 300,000 individuals, including over 62,000 pharmacists. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com/.
About Purdue Pharma L.P.
Purdue Pharma and its associated U.S. companies are privately-held pharmaceutical companies known for pioneering research on persistent pain. Headquartered in Stamford, CT, Purdue Pharma is engaged in the research, development, production, and distribution of both prescription and over-the-counter medicine and hospital products. Additional information about Purdue can be found at www.purduepharma.com.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 2008.
- Office of National Drug Control Policy, Prescription for Danger, Jan. 2008
- Safeguard My Meds survey data set. 2010.