Without provider discussion, more parents keeping leftover prescription narcotics in the home

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May 19, 2016
Child taking prescription bottle out of medicine cabinet

Rates of prescription pain medication addiction and death have increased in the United States, affecting all sectors of the population, including children and adolescents. While major policy initiatives have been implemented to limit access to narcotic pain medications, a known point of access for younger populations is pills in the home that were left over from a prior prescription. If there are pills left over from a prescription, what do parents do with them? Are their providers discussing how to dispose of them?

In our latest NPCH Report, we asked parents of children 5-17 years old about their experiences with pain medication prescriptions for their children. Half of parents reported their child had leftover pills from a pain medication prescription, while only one third of parents said the prescribing provider discussed what to do with the leftover medication. Twice as many parents with no provider discussion kept leftover pain pills at home compared to parents whose provider discussed what to do with leftover medication. Read the full report – Narcotics in the medicine cabinet: Provider talk is key to lower risk

Figure 1. Proportion of parents who kept child's leftover pain medication at home when provider discussed and did NOT discuss what to do

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What do you think?
If your child has pills leftover from a pain medication prescription, what do you do with them? Has a provider ever discussed how to dispose of them? Don't forget to share your thoughts in the comments below and on Facebook and Twitter @MottNPCH.

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