October marks the 25th annual “Talk About Prescriptions” Month, sponsored by the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE). This year’s theme, “Promoting Safe Use / Preventing Abuse,” speaks to taking action to ensure safe and appropriate medicine use as well as the roles and responsibilities on various levels-personal, family, healthcare professional, and community – for ensuring that medicines are used properly and safely whenever prescribed or recommended. Taking action also extends to creating awareness to prevent and address prescription drug abuse. NCPIE’s campaign materials this year focus on the abuse problems prevalent among young people.
NCPIE also recommends re-emphasizing previous campaigns such as the Medicine Smart™ message, coined for the October 2008 annual “Talk About Prescriptions” Month campaign. In fact, the major emphasis of that October’s messaging was the value and importance of patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals being Medicine Smart™. NCPIE thinks this message bears repeating as frequently as possible.
October also is American Pharmacists month, a time to recognize the significant contributions to health care and the commitment to patient care by pharmacists in ALL practice settings from around the country. “Know Your MEDICINE, Know Your PHARMACIST” is the theme and core message of the month.
Some quick thoughts on these campaigns:
- The pharmacist month theme and another I saw, Safety first with medicines, ask your pharmacist fit in very well with NCPIE’s messages. Maybe they talked!
- NCPIE’s website is one I consult consistently for reliable consumer educational materials. I hope you will find it useful, too, and glean helpful resources to take action, not just in October, but throughout the year.
- Consider how tempting “scheduled” meds (such as narcotics) prescribed for our older patients can be to young relatives or their friends. Take action to assist your patients to properly dispose of out-dated prescriptions with abuse potential. Look out for potential abuse of seniors’ meds by family members-this just happened to a friend of mine, whose son was apparently diverting oxycodone, prescribed for her compound leg fracture.
- Is it just me, or are our senior patients becoming smarter and more responsible about their medications? As a participant in a recent senior wellness morning, I was very pleasantly surprised by how much the seniors knew about their medications, and how many had medication lists in their wallets. (Lists were generally complete for prescription, but not OTC drugs). Maybe this was an anomaly-a group who were really interested in their health. I don’t know, but as I think back over the last few years, it seems seniors are becoming more engaged and informed. What do you think?
Dennee Frey, CHAMP Pharmacy Expert