Our key messages for using medicines safely are quite simple:
- Only use prescription medications as directed by a health professional.
- Never share your prescription medications with others or use someone else’s prescription medications.
- Always store your medications securely to prevent others from taking them, and properly dispose of medications that you no longer need.
- Be a good example to those around you by modeling these safe medication-taking practices and discussing the dangers of misusing prescription drugs with your family, friends, colleagues, students, or patients.
How to Store Medications
When prescribed a prescription medication…
- Store medications in secure locations such as:
- Medication safes
- Or other lockable spaces
- Avoid storage places where children and others can easily access, such as:
- Or kitchen cabinets
How to Dispose of Medications
Once finished with a prescription medication, you have three options for disposal…
Safely dispose of medications (if no instructions are given) by placing them in a drug dropbox.
Take advantage of community drug take-back programs that allow the public to bring unused medications to a central location for proper disposal.
No dropbox or take back near you? Dispose medications safely at home:
Remove pills from bottle and mix them with undesirable substances
such as kitty litter or coffee grounds.
Throw away the sealed mixture into the trash.
Remove the prescription label and dispose of the empty bottle.
In addition, the FDA has posted guidelines regarding how to dispose of medicines you no longer need:
Are you interested in hosting a medication take back event in your community? There are several things to consider when planning an event. Check out these medication disposal day guidelines which offers general guidance for pharmacists, community members and other health professionals. The guidelines cover logistical matters and other requirements involved in coordinating medication disposal events in your communities.