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August 30, 2012

Prescription Medication Theft, Abuse Increasing


The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and AARP Minnesota are teaming up to urge awareness concerning prescription medication theft and abuse.
The abuse of prescription medication is the fastest-growing type of illegal drug use in the U.S. Approximately 70 percent of abusers say that they obtained their supply prescription medications from friends and family. The Sheriff’s Office is urging senior citizens to take precaution to prevent theft of medications, according to a news release.
“This is a serious type of elder abuse and I urge all seniors and their families to be aware of potential of theft and abuse,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, “Keep prescriptions in a secure location, monitor supplies, and take additional precautions if pills are missing.”
AARP has a booth at the Minnesota State Fair (located in the Education Building at Dan Patch Avenue and Cosgrove Street.) On Thursday, Aug. 30, during Senior Citizen Day at the fair, representatives from the Sheriff’s Office will be handing out informational flyers that describe prevention of medication abuse and theft.
The average 75-year-old has three chronic conditions and uses five prescription drugs. Abusers may target seniors and their homes as a source of prescription medications. They may know when a prescription is filled and when to visit the senior.
In some cases, an abuser may withhold certain amounts medications so that the proper dosage is not available to the senior. Theft or withholding of medication from an older person -- may lead to increased pain, risk of injury, and even death. The senior citizen may be at greater risk of requiring nursing home care if medications are stolen or withheld in their homes.
Seniors are reminded that expired and unwanted medications should NOT be stored in the home. They should dispose of medications properly.
Hennepin County residents may drop off unwanted and expired medicines at disposal boxes at three Sheriff’s Office facilities in Brooklyn Park, Spring Park, and downtown Minneapolis. Removing unwanted medications may help reduce the supply that could potentially be stolen or abused. The disposal service is free.
Properly disposing of unused medicines is important to prevent abuse or poisoning and protect the environment. Storing medicines in the home poses safety and health threats. Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem, especially among teens, and accidental poisonings from medicines are on the rise. Medicines flushed down the drain or disposed of in the trash can contaminate bodies of water, harm wildlife and end up in drinking water supplies.
In Hennepin County, there are three locations for medicine drop-off boxes. The boxes are self-serve and located in the lobby at each location. Pull the handle to open and drop the medicine into the box.

 SOURCE:       The EdenPrairieNews
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