The Blue Ridge Poison Center (BRPC) at the University of Virginia Health System is commemorating National Poison Prevention Week from March 17-23 by focusing on protecting your prescription medicines from falling into the wrong hands.
“Unfortunately, medicine theft is a real concern right now,” says Kristin Wenger, Education Coordinator for BRPC. “Medicines are the no. 1 source of poisoning for children, teens, and adults. Proper storage and awareness of the medicines in your home is important to insure they don’t become part of the problem and fall into the wrong hands.” The “wrong hands” might be a curious child, a teen who is experimenting with substances of abuse, or an adult with an opioid addiction. Wenger offers these tips:
- Keep track of your pills. Be able to notice if any are missing, or if they suddenly look different.
- Store prescription medicines in a secret place known only to you. Consider using a lock box, available online or at any pharmacy. If young children are present, make sure the storage location is up high, out of their reach.
- Remove or scratch out labels on prescription bottles before tossing into the trash. Some pill thieves rummage through garbage to find homes or people to target.
In 2018, the BRPC handled nearly 22,000 calls about poisons or poison exposures. After consulting with our specialists, 8 out of every 10 callers were able to treat their poison exposure onsite or at home, saving the trouble and expense of unnecessary trips to a health care facility. This service is free and available to anyone, any time of the day or night, by calling 800.222.1222.
For more information, visit www.brpc.virginia.edu, find them on Facebook, or follow @blueridgepoison, #PreventPoison, and #NPPW19 on Twitter. Save the Poison Help number in your phone by texting POISON to 797979.