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How Can You Keep Your Prescription Narcotics Secure?

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If you suffer from a medical condition that requires you to take prescription opiates or other narcotic medication on a regular basis, you may have some concerns about keeping your medicine safe from theft or accidental ingestion. With rising levels of opiate abuse and dependence among today's youth, your possession of potentially valuable street drugs in an unsecured medicine cabinet could make you and your family vulnerable to break-ins or home invasions. An additional danger may come in the form of a young friend or family member who accidentally gets hold of your medicine and ingests some, causing an unwanted reaction. What should you do to keep your medications safe while still allowing them to remain accessible for when you need them? Read on to learn more about several effective ways to secure your drugs.

What are the best ways to keep your medications secure from theft or accidental overdose? 

Traditionally, most people keep medication in the bathroom medicine cabinet or another accessible but out-of-sight place. While this type of storage is fine for most medicines, because of the special risks prescription painkillers can pose, it's best to keep these drugs in a more secure location.

A new technology which may show some promise in preventing painkiller overdoses is a combination lock that installs on the top of the pill bottle itself. This lock is programmed by the patient after the drug has been dispensed, so that no one -- not even pharmacy employees -- is able to open it without knowing the combination. This can be effective at preventing accidental ingestion or purposeful "skimming" by a visitor or even a pharmacy employee, but this will not prevent the bottle itself from being stolen or forced open through more violent means, so additional reinforcement may be necessary.

Another option that can provide some benefits is the use of a biometric safe. Unlike most safes, which operate through the use of a key or combination lock, a biometric safe uses personal physical identifiers (like your fingerprint) to determine who should be permitted to gain access. This can provide an extra layer of security, as many homeowners will eventually forget to hide the safe's key in an undetectable location or will write down the numbers of the combination lock to prevent against a mental lapse. 

Biometric safes present an additional advantage for those whose need for prescription narcotics can arise suddenly, as they won't require you to remember a combination lock or fumble with a small key while in the throes of a migraine headache or other medical event.

What happens if your lock malfunctions and leaves you without access to medication?

Despite the relative ease of access with a biometric safe, you may be nervous about your safe malfunctioning and preventing you from gaining access to your medication at a time you desperately need it. Fortunately, the incidence of false positives (and false negatives) with these safes is very low. If you do find yourself struggling to open your safe, you should be able to contact an emergency or after-hours locksmith to help you open it quickly at any time of the day or night. 

For those who could be in mortal danger without immediate access to medication, it's often wise to keep a small "emergency stash" in an easily accessible but out-of-the-way location. This will allow you to receive needed medical treatment even during the unlikely event of a malfunctioning safe. If this stash is in an area not accessible by children or pets, and not enticing to intruders, it's not likely to ever be detected. You'll then be able to keep the bulk of your medication in a locked biometric safe, securely out of reach.