Prescription medication safety stressed to parents; unwanted medicine collection this weekend

Heidi Aikens, prevention supervisor for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services, Inc., recently held a presentation for parents at St. Marys Area High School. Aikens focused a portion of her presentation on prescription medication safety, offering a variety of tips for individuals who may have potentially dangerous prescription medications in their homes. Aikens advised attendees to first contact their doctor or pharmacist to find out if a prescription that they or a family member has been prescribed is considered to be dangerous. She also recommended that individuals have a safe place to keep their medications, especially if their doctor or pharmacist does indicate that it might be dangerous. "A lot of times, if there's someone who is looking for a prescription drug they're not necessarily going to come to your home and take the whole bottle. If they get an opportunity to be in a home with someone who has some type of an addictive drug, they may make their way into your bathroom and into your medicine cabinet, but to take them all would be really obvious to you. So they may take three or four, or five or six, but they won't take them all," Aikens said. "If you were given the medication for a specific instance, you use it for that instance and get rid of it. You are a major target for people who use and abuse prescription drugs. They look for people that have had surgeries. They look for people that have chronic pain. They're trying to find you. They'll find ways to break into your home," Aikens said. Area residents who currently have medications that they would like to dispose of may do so at the county's unwanted household medicines collection, which will be held Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Education Center at Elk Regional Medical Center. Individuals planning to dispose of medications at this collection are asked to keep all medicines in their original containers and leave the name of the medication visible on the label. A black permanent marker can be used to black out all personal information, including the prescription holder's name, address and account number. Additional information about the collection can be obtained by contacting the Elk County Recycling Office at 814-776-5373.