Thursday, May 5, 2011

Protecting Children. Protecting Yourself.

Frequently, we encounter questions from attendees at our training sessions asking what they should do to protect their children from the dangers of prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse. Here are a few quick tips:

1. Talk to them about the dangers of prescription drugs. They are harmful and should never be taken by anyone they are not prescribed for, should never be shared, and above all- they should never take any medication without you knowing about it.

2. Encourage them to tell you if they are asked by a relative or friend to try a prescription or over-the-counter drugs (cough syrup, cold pills).

Additionally, many of us have elderly relatives who hold onto medication passed the expiration date. They can unintentionally become suppliers of prescription drug seekers in their own homes. The elderly are more susceptible to burglary or robbery because many addicts think they have medications.

You can help protect them by doing the following:

1. Encourage them to safeguard their medication in a secure place. This could be their bedroom, locked drawer or closet.

2. Help them manage the quantity of pills they have by removing expired or unused medication. Look for local "Take Back" initiatives or contact your local pharmacy and ask to return them. If they wont accept them, there are a number of medications that can be flushed (see list below) or mix them with old coffee grounds and discard (see proper disposal tips to the right).

Today, you need to be vigilant about prescription medications. There are a number of deaths associated with overdose and mixing medicine with alcohol. We all need to do our part to protect our children and to protect ourselves.

For more information about this tuition-free training or sponsoring an on-site training for your department, contact us at 202-543-8181 or email at

Steven Juneau (Tlingit-Haida/Blackfeet) is the director of Indian Country Training, a division of Lamar Associates, a 100 percent American Indian owned professional training and technical assistance company specializing in drug, crime, and gang prevention in Indian Country. He is a 20 year law enforcement professional serving Indian Country as a special agent in charge, deputy chief of training, and special agent.

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