Dangers in your medicine cabinet

By: Liz Tufts 

Email: news@abc6.com

Twitter: @ABC6


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- Haley McKee’s long battle with opioids started 17-years ago at the age of 23.

It only takes about three days for someone to become addicted to these substances.

At the time surgery for her back problems wasn’t an option, so her doctor wrote her a prescription for the pain.

Haley tells me, “They kept extending my treatment by keeping me on prescription drugs for seven months or so, and the cycle never stopped. I was prescribed Vicodin and codeine cough syrup.”

Haley says when the prescription pills weren’t cutting it anymore.

She turned to heroin to get high.

According to the national institute on drug abuse, 80% of heroin users say their addiction started by abusing prescription drugs.

Many prescription opioids have a street value and they are attracted for a person to acquire.

Doctor Jim McDonald with the Rhode Island Department of Health says two thirds of those abusing prescription meds get them from family and friends, most of the time swiping them from their medicine cabinet.

Dr. McDonald says, “Why could the medicine cabinet be the most powerful or dangerous in your home is because where else in your home do you have something in it that could take someone’s life.”

And those unused prescriptions aren’t just dangerous for those looking for their next fix.

Roughly 60,000 kids a year are treated in emergency rooms after getting into medications.

Dr. McDonald also said, “Would you give your kid access to a power saw? So why would you give them access to your meds.”

For Haley it took years of treatment and support to finally get clean.

“A lot of people don’t make that connection with the medications in their medicine cabinet and what can potentially happen when a person gets to a point where they get desperate,” said Haley. “Cleaning out your medicine cabinet may seem like a small task, but it could help save a life.”

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2018