Parent Message from the Minnesota Department of Health

  • Check Medicine Cabinets

    As a new calendar year starts, families should check their medicine cabinets for unused or unwanted prescription drugs. Just by keeping these drugs in your household, you could unknowingly be providing easy access to one of the fastest growing categories of abused substances. Prescription drug abuse is rising rapidly, especially among teens. When abused, prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs and often act as gateway drugs to heroin. Countering abuse of prescription drugs is a priority of the State Substance Abuse Strategy being implemented by the Department of Human Services, the departments of Health, Public Safety, Corrections, Education and other agencies as well as the State Judicial Board, Minnesota National Guard/Department of Military Affairs, Minnesota Board of Pharmacy and the Minnesota Health Professional Services Program. The magnitude of heroin and opiate abuse across Minnesota is at its highest level ever. Addiction treatment admissions for heroin and other opiates accounted for 20 percent of all treatment admissions in the Twin Cities in 2012, second only to alcohol admissions.

    Prescription drugs can be easy to get, often from family or friends for free or by visitors using home bathrooms. So take action and handle your prescription drugs responsibly. Clean out your medicine cabinet and dispose of any unwanted or unused pills so they are not a temptation.

    Guidelines for drug disposal are available on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website.