This week — March 17-23 — is being observed as National Poison Prevention Week, a week designated to highlight the dangers of poisonings and how to prevent them.

It is a good time to think about ways to prevent poisonings by taking steps to protect your prescription medicines from falling into the wrong hands like those of a curious child, a teen who is experimenting with substances of abuse or adult with an opioid addiction.

It’s really sad, but medicine theft is a very real concern these days, so proper storage and awareness of personal medicines in your home is important to make sure they don’t become part of a growing problem by falling into these wrong hands.

The Blue Ridge Poison Center is urging the public to protect their prescriptions during National Poison Prevention Week offering the following tips:

• Keep track of your pills. Be able to notice if any are missing, or if they suddenly look different.

• Store prescription medicines in a secret place known only to you. Consider using a lock box. If young children are present, make sure the storage location is up high, out of their reach.

• Remove or scratch out labels on prescription bottles before tossing into the trash. Some pill thieves rummage through garbage to find homes or people to target.

Should you or someone you know suffer poison exposure, the Blue Ridge Poison Center offers a hotline available to anyone, any time of the day or night, by calling 1-800-222-1222.

For more information, visit www.brpc.virginia.edu.

Paula I. Bryant is the editor of The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at pbryant@gazettevirginian.com.​

Paula I. Bryant is the editor of The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at pbryant@gazettevirginian.com.