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Teens, Tots & Toxic Drugs: Keep Meds Locked Up at Home

December 27, 2011

VALPARAISO, Ind. - Thousands of American kids are hospitalized every year, and some die, because they take medications not prescribed for them, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it's a good time to keep an extra eye on toddlers and teens.

Sheriff Dave Lain of Indiana's Porter County advises adults to keep all medications locked up and out of sight. Small children could eat pills because they look like candy, and another problem is a growing number of teen-agers raiding medicine cabinets in the hope of finding something to get high on.

"Parents and grandparents need to really take a true assessment of the kids and, importantly, their kids and grandkids' friends, because oftentimes - if the grandchildren aren't necessarily involved - sometimes their friends are."

Lain recommends keeping all drugs locked up, which may seem extreme, but could very well save a life. He also urges people to find drug drop-off programs so that pharmaceuticals don't end up flushed into water systems.

Lain says substance abuse touches everyone these days.

"I've long identified substance abuse as the single most damaging component in our society today. There is virtually no family that can claim immunity, from ether someone in their own family, or a close acquaintance."

Lain says his department has been working with Porter County Triad, a senior advocacy group, for the last eight years, taking in old prescriptions to keep them out of the wrong hands, and to keep them from being flushed.

Leigh DeNoon, Public News Service - IN