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Proper Methods of Medication Storage and Disposal

According to the CDC about 60,000 children will be seen in emergency rooms each year due to accidental ingestion of medication. The best way to help eliminate this household hazard is to properly identify, store, and dispose of medication.

Safety Tips for Medication Storage

The first step is to properly identify what needs to be safely stored in your house. It is not just prescription medication you get from the pharmacy that needs to be kept safe. Over the counter medication including vitamins and supplements can lead to serious complications if they are accidentally consumed.  They too need to be properly stored with prescription medications.

Keeping Medication Storage Safe for Children

When storing medication find a secure place in your home that is not visible or readily accessible to children. Every home is different but up high on the top shelf of a locked cabinet can be a good starting point. Ensure that medications are returned to storage after each use and safety caps are utilized. Storing your medications is a great start but it is important to teach children about medication as they may come across easily accessible medications at family and friends homes. Ensure your children understand that medication is not candy and should never be taken unless it is given to them by their parents or caregivers.

3 Methods for Safe Medication Disposal

  1. The DEA operates a database that can be searched by zip code to find nearby drop boxes for medication disposal. CHI Health Pharmacies also take back medications on any day our locations are open.
  2. When it is not feasible to visit a nearby drop box the FDA recommends a mix, place, and throw method for disposal. First gather you unwanted medications and mix them with something unpalatable such as dirt, cat litter, or coffee grounds. Then, place the mixture in a sealed plastic bag and finally throw the bag into the trash.
  3. Alternatively, the FDA has also published a list of medications that should be immediately flushed when they are no longer needed. These medications pose a substantial risk to anyone who may accidentally ingest them.

Additionally, to protect your health information always scratch or blackout any personal information that is found on you prescription bottles prior to disposal.

If you have any additional questions regarding storage and disposal please follow up with one of our CHI Health Pharmacists.

James Morran, PharmD
James Morran, PharmD

James Morran, PharmD, RP is a Team Lead Pharmacist with CHI Health.

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