June is Medication Safety Awareness Month

Sponsored - June is National Medication Safety Awareness Month and the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute (WV DII) is reminding everyone—”Don’t Keep Rx Around™!” With the help of their medication safety ambassador, Rex the Rx™ and partnerships with Fruth Pharmacy and DisposeRx®, the non-profit is making medication disposal packets available throughout the month of June. These packets are FREE to anyone who requests one at a Fruth Pharmacy.

In addition, the WV DII is reminding persons across the lifespan of the three tenants of “Don’t Keep Rx Around™!”

  1. Cap Him—Always keep medication sealed, stored properly and out of the reach of children. The medicine cabinet is the best place. Do not store medications on countertops, end tables or dressers where little hands might reach them!
  2. Know Him—Only take medication prescribe to you. Never share medications with others (including family members).
  3. Throw Him—Dispose of used or expired medications IMMEDIATELY to avoid diversion or accidents. Dispose of medications safely and protect our environment by using a medication disposal packet.

“Recent research from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse indicates an increase in childhood exposure to the opioids: fentanyl, oxycodone and buprenorphine especially among children under five years of age,” explained WV DII President, Dr. Susan Bissett. “In fact, unintentional ingestion opioids represent the highest proportion of emergency room visits involving prescription drugs and children.”

Young children aren’t the only concern, however. According to Bissett, teenagers and college students often share prescription medications using them as a sleep and study aids. In addition, older adults—those raising children and grandchildren—may not be storing medications properly or disposing them upon expiration. This makes them accessible to children, visitors and other family members.

West Virginia experienced a 45% increase in the number of overdose deaths in 2020. In fact, according to a report released by the United States National Office of Drug Control Policy (NODP) last month, more West Virginians died of drug overdoses last year than in any previous year on record—an estimated 1,275 deaths in 2020. It is not clear how many of these deaths involved prescription drugs. However, the increase is one reason organizations like the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute (WV DII) is emphasizing the importance of medication safety.

For resources, brochures, and tips on talking to your family about medication safety, visit: www.wvdii.org/medicationsafety; and visit a Fruth Pharmacy near you for a FREE DisposeRx® Medication Disposal Packet.