We talk a lot about locking up and securing prescription medicines in the home, but it’s also important to recognize the potential harms of everyday over the counter medicines as well.  These over the counter (OTC) medicines are common place in most of our homes, but can significantly impact the health of our children and teens.

A lot of our tweens and teens are struggling right now with poor mental health, almost a year into the COVID pandemic.  They may be feeling “a funk” that they’ve never felt before and may reach out to what is most available to try to change how they are feeling.  This may include taking more than the recommended dosage of OTC.

There are some steps you, as parents and caregivers, can take to prevent OTC overdoses.

  • Lock up or secure all medicines and adult use substances in the home.  Locked boxes can be purchased online or you can have a locked toolbox, closet, or cabinet.
  • Monitor medicines and adult use substances in the home.  This means taking regular stock… counting and keeping track of the relative number of pills (including OTC), the number of beers in the fridge, or the line on that wine or liquor bottles.
  • Talk to your kids, tweens, and teens about safe medicine usage.  Establish household protocols where you as the parent/caregiver give the medicines.
  • Seek help. If your tween or teen seems off, seek help ASAP. The Lamoille County Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team is available anytime (24-7-365 days) at 802-888-8888. This number gets you to Copley Hospital’s operator.  Leave your number and the LCMH Mobile Crisis Team will call you right back.  They are happy to consult before a crisis as well as in crisis moments.  Call them… they can help connect you to the resources that will help you and your tween/teen get through this tough spot.  Your school counselors are also a great resource! The national Crisis text line number is another resource for anyone text: 741-741.

Healthy Lamoille Valley is a coalition of individuals and community organizations working collaboratively to reduce youth substance misuse and encourage youth to make substance free healthy choices.  It is our vision that the Lamoille Valley is a safe, supportive and healthy community.To learn more about how you can become involved, please email Jessica@healthylamoillevalley.org.