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June is Home Safety Month (Home Safety Council, 2011). When considering ways to make your home safer, many people consider covering electrical sockets, looking for loose cords and wires, or putting together an emergency supplies kit. Have you ever considered the connection between home safety, alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs? There are many ways to help make your home safer for children and grandchildren who will be home from school on summer break.
Locking up alcohol and prescription drugs is a starting point towards a safer home. One in three Bullitt County teens reported getting alcohol from home or a friend's house (KIP survey 2010). Most of the time, this happens without the parents' knowledge or approval. To protect curious youth or teens looking for a quick 'high' from harming themselves or others, a simple lock on the medicine cabinet and liquor cabinet can go a long way. For any alcohol or medication that is not locked away, know how much you have so that you can tell if any is missing. Storing your medicine in a cool, dry place helps them to last longer. Also, remember to dispose of your expired or unused medications. Dry pills can be dropped of at the disposal box at the Bullitt County Sheriff's Office. Liquid medicine can be mixed with coffee grounds or cat litter and disposed of in a garbage can.
Knowing how to contact The Poison Control Center in the event of an emergency can be a lifesaver. The National Poison Control Center number is 1-800-222-1222. This number can be used for accidental poisonings or for negative drug reactions due to suspected drug abuse. Recently, there have been reports of youth inhaling household cleaners and paints, abusing bath salts, incense, window cleaner, and even cooking spices in an attempt to get 'high'. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reported numerous hospitalizations and has even added some of these items as illegal substances to the scheduled drug list. Inform your children of the dangers of these substances and have a plan for intentional and accidental poisonings.
Lastly, eliminate smoking indoors for a safer home. Most agree that secondhand smoke leads to death and disease from cancer, heart disease, asthma, and others, but did you know that smoking is the #1 cause of home fire deaths in the United States (USFA, 2011)? Most fires caused by smoking start in the bed, on furniture, or in the trash. The closer a person is to the cigarette at the time of the fire, the harder that person is to save due to how fast the fire spreads (USFA, 2011). One in four people killed in fires caused by smoking is not the actual smoker of the cigarette (34% were children of the smokers, 25% were neighbors or friends of the smoker) (USFA, 2011). To make your home safer from smoking related fires, make sure cigarettes are completely put out each time, check for butts that may have fallen near flammable material, and never smoke in a building where oxygen tanks are being used or were recently used. The number one way to prevent house fire deaths caused by smoking is to not smoke, or if you are going to smoke, take it outside (USFA, 2011).
Be sure to talk to your children about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and tell them of your disapproval. Parents who express their disapproval of drug abuse are less likely to have children who abuse drugs. Preventing drug abuse is important for a safer home this summer. Partners in Prevention is a coalition of community members that work to prevent drug use and abuse in Bullitt County. For more information about Partners, visit our website at www.BCPartnersInPrevention.com
For more information about home safety, visit Home Safety http://www.healthfinder.gov/scripts/SearchContext.asp?topic=14419
For more information about preventing drug abuse, visit http://www.teendrugabuse.org/
For more information about smoking related fire fatalities, visit HYPERLINK "http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pdf/smoking/GeneralAudienceFactSheet.pdf"http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pdf/smoking/GeneralAudienceFactSheet.pdf