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I've Got A Drug Problem

It's not often I get to say "Finally, real progress!". I get to say it today.

I've often complained about the inaccessibility of medication labels. I hate depending on someone to tell me which medicines are where. I've developed a pretty good system and rarely, if ever, run into a med error, but there's always the fear of taking three of the sleeping pill instead of the nerve pain med, for example. I do not have a death wish, so I want to make absolutely sure I'm taking the right medication when I take it. And don't get me started on the dangers of accidentally taking too many blood pressure meds because you got bottles confused!

It's my strong belief that I shouldn't have to be the one to label my meds in a way that I can read them. After all, I don't know a sighted person who would accept a bottle with a blank label and be told what it is once and be expected to remember it or write the label themselves. It should be the pharmacist's responsibility to label the bottle accurately, with the name, dosage and pertinent information, just as it is for a sighted person's medication.

I'm happy to report that the Access Board has just released
Best practices for making drug labels accessible

They are voluntary, but it's strongly recommended. As indicated in the press release, there will be evaluation in 18 months, and that will tell us a lot about how well these are being followed and how well they work.

I was at the
American Council of the Blind
convention last week, and we were reminded of the importance of making sure that pharmacists know about and use these guidelines. If we don't show that we need them, they won't be followed. We have come a long way just having this document available, let's not have it ignored.

Do me a favor. If you need these labels, ask for them. Even if you don't use meds as much as I do (and I sincerely hope you don't), please ask. You owe it to yourself to have the same access as everyone else. Stay safe with your meds, and if you know someone who needs this info, please pass it along!

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