It is crucial that people understand safe storage and disposal of prescription drugs to keep loved ones safe and to keep drugs away from potential abusers.
In almost any home, there are medicines that have been prescribed by a doctor for the treatment of illness or some other condition. It is easy to pay little attention to these medications beyond their use; however, prescription drugs are drugs, and as such, they require a certain amount of cautionary care when it comes to how they are stored and how they are disposed of when no longer needed.
This is of particular importance when there are children or grandchildren in the home. Often, people do not store their medications as safely as they should, and little thought is given when it comes to the disposal of prescription drugs.
Prescription Drug Storage
Parents and guardians should always store drugs in safe and secure locations within the home. This means storing them in a place that is not easily accessible to children and teens and also in an area in which the medicine won’t easily break down before the expiration date. When there are kids in the home, a safe location is important to keep both small children and teenagers from gaining access to it. People will want to keep their prescription drugs in a location that is high enough to be out of a small child’s reach.
Additionally, medications should be stored in a locked drawer or cabinet that only adults in the home have free access to. Regardless of whether there are children in the home or not, medications should always remain in dry and cool locations. This is a preferred location as warm, moist areas often reduce the potency of medications and can cause them to break down more quickly. Bathrooms, for example, are a popular location for medications, but they are also humid and warm, making them one of the worst places that people can store their prescription drugs. If this is the only location, it is important to close the bottles as tightly as possible.
Keeping Prescription Drugs Away from Children and Teens
When small children have easy access to prescription medications, they can often work the top off of a bottle. Even so-called childproof caps may not be enough to prevent a child from opening and swallowing the medication within the bottle. As a result, children are at a high risk of poisoning or overdosing. Prescription drug abuse is the primary concern when it comes to teenagers in the home. This is a genuine concern, even when parents or adults believe that the teenager in the home would never use drugs.
Teens may feel that prescription drugs are not as harmful as street drugs and may attempt to experiment or use them recreationally as a result. Friends of teens may look into medicine cabinets in hopes of stealing medications from bottles within. In some instances, a teen in the home may steal pills for friends even if they are not using them themselves. In general, the failure to properly store prescription drugs from children and teens can ultimately lead to an emergency situation or even death.
Proper Disposal of Prescription Drugs
Just like the storage of prescription drugs, the proper disposal of prescription drugs that are no longer in use or expired is also important. A simple way to dispose of them while deterring others from stealing and using them is to mix them with an undesirable item. Litter from a cat box and coffee grounds are popular for this purpose. Simply empty the unusable drugs from their container into a bag and place the undesirable substance of choice in with it. Seal the bag and throw in the trash. Before throwing out the containers, use a black marker to thoroughly blacken out any information, such as one’s name, the name of the medication, the prescription number, etc.
Another way to dispose of medicines is to contact take-back programs run by local government recycling or trash services. Take-back programs allow people to return their unwanted medicines, which is a more economical disposal of prescription drugs. Some cities or counties hold events in which residents can drop off household hazardous wastes. If no take-back programs are available, people should ask if, when, and where there are drop-off days in the city or town. You should never flush medications down the toilet unless specific instructions on the bottle say to do so.
Prescription Drug Drop Boxes
Prescription drug drop boxes are convenient medicine disposal systems. Members of the public should contact their local police department or ask their pharmacist if there are any area drug drop-off boxes for public disposal of prescription drugs. In many cases, people can take their unused prescription drugs to the receptacles at any time of the day.
It is important that people know exactly what type of medications their local drop boxes accept, as some may only accept solid medications such as capsules or pills for drop-off while other receptacles may also accept aerosols, creams, etc. When confirming the location of the drop-off boxes, verify drop-off times and the types of medicines they accept.
Morningside Recovery knows that prescription drug abuse and addiction affect many Americans across the country. If someone in your family suffers from prescription drug addiction, call us today at 855-631-2135 to learn about our prescription drug addiction rehab program and opiate addiction treatment.