The number of drug overdoses in the United States was about 10% higher in 2017 compared to 2016 and has more than tripled over the past two decades. Lawmakers, communities, and families that have been affected by the overdose epidemic are now taking action, causing large pharmaceutical companies like Purdue Pharma to file for bankruptcy. The billions of dollars in settlements and fines cannot replace the lives that have been taken from drug overdoses.

Drug overdoses caused by natural and synthetic opioids have blanketed the news over the past few years. These drugs include, but are not limited to, hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl and tramadol. Visit the CDC website to learn more about the dangers of opioids and for help with getting treatment for you or a loved one: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/index.html 

Many medical professionals are taking extra measures to prevent dangerous drugs from getting into the wrong hands. Patients can also discuss alternative options with their doctor. The CDC lists several of these options on their website: www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/patients/options.html. Families can also take preventive measures to help keep dangerous drugs out of the wrong hands. Here are a few tips to help keep your family safe and away from dangerous drugs that could lead to an overdose: 

  1. Keep an up-to-date record of medications. Try keeping a written log with a separate page or section devoted to each family member that includes a list of that person’s medications, dosage instructions, etc. If a family member has a question about a specific medication, they can check the log.
  2. Never take medication out of its original container or remove labels. When there are only a few pills remaining in a large and bulky prescription bottle, it's tempting to consolidate the remaining medication by transferring it to a smaller container. But doing so greatly increases the risk of a medication mix-up. Along with that, you should never remove medication labels.
  3. Purchase separate storage bins for each family member. If several people in your house are taking medications at the same time, buy clear, stackable storage containers, label them by each family member, and store all medications accordingly.
  4. Keep medications away from children. If you have young children, medications should be out of sight and out of reach. In addition to the risk of ingesting and overdosing on drugs, your kids could also tamper with other people's medication. Never let your children administer their own medication.
  5. Post emergency phone numbers on the refrigerator. When in doubt, family members can call your doctor or pharmacist with any drug-related questions.

If a dangerous drug has harmed a family member, call us today at 816-842-7100 to speak with an attorney that will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Or you can click here to email us and schedule your free consultation. 

Jason C. Amerine
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President and Owner, Castle Law Office of Kansas City
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