You know illicit drugs like heroin and molly are dangerous. You do everything you can to keep your kids safe from alcohol and cigarettes. Maybe you’ve even started locking up prescriptions up now that the prescription epidemic is in the news more and more. But did you know that securing your over the counter medications locked up and out of sight is is also an important part of medicine safety?
Cough syrups and other OTC medications may contain DXM, a dangerous ingredient present in many products available without prescription.
Familiar household meds such as Tylenol, Alka Seltzer, and Nyquil often contain DXM. DXM has been FDA approved and is generally considered safe when taken according to label instructions. However, in high doses this readily-available drug can be extremely dangerous.
DXM is a dissociative drug, which means that taking too much has an effect similar to ketamine or PCP.
So how do you keep your family safe from such a common substance?
Talk to your kids about the dangers of OTC drugs, and help keep them from experimenting by storing your medications safely and securely.
Look out for these 10 signs that it might be time to invest in a medicine lock box.
10 Signs That You Need A Medicine Box For Your OTC Drugs
#1: You’re worried your teens might experiment with drugs.
If you’re the cautious type, a medicine lock box might be just the thing to help you keep your kids safe and give you peace of mind.
After all, there may not be any warning signs before your kids start experimenting or get addicted.
Prevention is the best way to keep your family safe. That’s why it’s important to practice medicine safety and talk to your kids about the dangers of OTC medications.
Medicine lock boxes are most effective as a tool for addiction prevention. They can keep your OTC meds out of site and secure from kids and teens who might be tempted to take too much, or sneak some just to see what it’s like.
#2: You have small children in the house.
Picture this: some cough syrup gets left out on the counter. Your kid doesn’t know that it’s dangerous, but they do know that it tastes like yummy grape or cherry candy.
Accidents happen all the time.
Medicine lock boxes may be the barrier that prevents a tragic mistake from happening to your small child.
If your small children are getting to that age where everything is a potential toy, use a lock box to help keep dangerous medications away from curious fingers. Safe medicine storage is an important part of child-proofing your home.
#3: You’ve noticed medication going missing.
Keep an eye on how much cough syrup you have lying around.
- Have you found empty medicine boxes in the trash?
- Unsure about how the bottle of cough syrup got so low?
Missing medication is a telltale sign that someone in the house is abusing or experimenting.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on your medicine cabinet after one of your kids gets over a cold. DXM, a common ingredient in OTC cough syrups, can be addictive. Someone who starts taking cough syrup for a cold can become addicted if they overdo it.
#4: Your kids aren’t interested in their favorite activities.
This sign is arguably the easiest to spot.
If your kids are struggling with classes they used to enjoy, or if they’re suddenly skipping soccer practice, it could be a sign that something more serious is going on.
#5: Your teen has been more hostile or moody than usual.
We know, we know. It feels like your teen is hostile and moody all the time. Puberty and high school are tough. A certain amount of moodiness is to be expected
But look out for hostility or mood swings that are out-of-character, as this can be a symptom of drug abuse.
#6: You’ve heard your kids using OTC medication slang.
Keep an ear open for slang terms for OTC meds or medication abuse. Words to listen for include:
- Velvet/Velvet Syrup
#7: Your teen has friends you don’t know over.
Has your teen been hanging out with a new crowd lately?
It’s great to see your kids making new friends, but it’s also completely natural to be worried about having people you don’t know in your house.
Take the time to get to know your kids’ friends. One of the signs of drug addiction is replacing old friends with new ones. Addicts tend to spend time with other addicts, so if your kid dropped their old friends for a new group without explanation, it may be one of the signs of drug use.
Even if your teen and their friends are all great kids, teens do get curious. You can’t always tell who might be tempted to take some cough syrup from the medicine cabinet. It’s much safer to keep it stored securely locked up and out of sight.
Unsecured medication is at risk for theft. If your kids have new people over regularly, use a medicine lock box to store your meds.
#8: You think your teen has been drinking.
OTC medicines are even more dangerous when abused in combination with alcohol or other drugs.
If you think your teen has been getting into alcohol, make sure you keep your medications locked up, and make sure they understand the risks they’re facing.
Mixing OTC medications with alcohol can have side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, or liver damage. Invest in a medicine lock box to help prevent mixing medications with other substances.
#9: Your kids have been complaining about being sick.
Some symptoms of OTC abuse and addiction include feeling sick to the stomach, stomach pain, dizziness, etc.
Because so many symptoms of OTC drug abuse resemble flu symptoms, keep an eye out for recurring illnesses or symptoms. It may mean it’s time for a medicine lock box.
#10: Your kids see OTC medications as safer than other drugs.
Too many people start abusing OTC medications, especially teens, because they see them as safe or harmless. After all, they’re widely available in grocery stores and recommended by doctors.
Your kids may not understand that something so readily available could be dangerous.
If you or a family member uses OTC medication that you think your teen might be tempted to experiment with, pick up a lock box, and talk to your kids.
Remember, a medicine lock box is most effective as a form of prevention.
Use a medicine lock box to help secure your meds and make it clear that even OTC drugs can be dangerous, and talk to your kids about medicine safety.
If you think someone in your home is struggling with a serious addiction, don’t hesitate to get them treatment. A medicine lock box alone may not be enough.