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Contributing Editor Christine Blank is a freelance writer based in Florida.
Despite growing consumer education, children and teenagers are increasingly abusing prescription drugs. Two manufacturers have recently launched products designed to keep Rx drugs secure in the home.
Despite growing consumer education by pharmacists and government officials, children and teenagers are increasingly abusing prescription drugs they find at home. In fact, persons 12 and older who use pain-relieving drugs nonmedically obtain them primarily through a friend or relative, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
It is easy for children - and even pets - to accidentally obtain prescription drugs, according to Bruce Kneeland, founder and principal consultant at the pharmacy consulting firm PharmacyConnections. "We were dogsitting recently, and the dog pulled our prescription medications off the shelf and scattered them onto the floor. It was one of those 'aha' moments: It doesn't matter who you are and where you are; you have to make sure they stay safe and out of sight," Kneeland said.
Pharmacists, too, are being more proactive with patient education and counseling on Rx drug abuse, said P. Tim Rocafort, PharmD, assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. "Pharmacists are being very active with Poison Control centers and preventing the abuse and misuse of medications through programs like Generation Rx," Rocafort said. Sponsored by The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), Generation Rx (http://www.pharmacy.ohio-state.edu/outreach/generation-rx/) provides information on prescription drug abuse and prevention for schools and colleges.