How and Why You Should Safely Store and Dispose of Prescription Medications

Home    Parents     How and Why You Should Safely Store and Dispose of Prescription Medications

By: SUPE Editorial Team

Unused prescription drugs of any kind should not be treated like leftovers. Most families report they keep unused or expired medications in their homes. There are numerous reasons why this is the case, whether because it takes effort to discard something or the natural inclination to keep something that might be useful. It is critical to know the dangers of keeping unused prescription medications. For example, pain medication, benzodiazepines, and stimulants are significant sources of misuse and diversion.

Keeping Unused Prescription Drugs at Home Is Unsafe

The safest thing any family could do is remove all medications that are no longer prescribed or needed. There is no point in keeping unused or expired medications. All medications have an expiration date, even over-the-counter medications. Failing to dispose of unused medications properly can have dire consequences. Studies have shown that most unused prescription medications were pain medications. Holding on to these no longer needed drugs could pose a severe risk to other family members and the environment.

How to Safely Dispose of Expired or Unused Medication

The best way to safely dispose of prescription or over-the-counter medication is to drop off the medicine at a drug take-back site, location, or program. Depending on where you live, this could vary. Still, there are always locations where you can drop off unused medication.

If the medication cannot be returned to a drop-off location immediately, or there is no location close by, the FDA, for example, produced a flush list where certain medications could be flushed down the toilet.

However, some medications cannot be flushed down the toilet, making it essential to follow disposal instructions carefully.

Five Critical Reasons Why Taking Back Unused Medication Is Important

  • Prescription medication is just as dangerous as street drugs when used without a prescription or doctor’s supervision.
  • The average person who misuses or abuses prescription drugs got the medication from a family member or friend.
  • Roughly 6% of Americans over the age of 12 abuse prescriptions in a year, and 12% of these drug users are addicted.
  • The rate of use and availability of prescription drugs drives the reported rates of prescription drug abuse, addiction, and overdose.
  • Properly disposing of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment.

Test Your Knowledge

Properly Disposing of Unused Drugs

Which of the below statements is true about disposing of unused medications?

If medication can not be returned to a drop off location immediately, what should you do?

The best way to safely dispose of old medications is just to throw them in the trash.

Your score is

The average score is 0%

0%

SUPE as a Teacher
Leave your feedback

Related Articles

  • A Parent’s Guide to Vaping

    Parental awareness is critical when it concerns vaping. It is estimated that more than 2.1 million youth currently use e-cigarettes. More than one in four youth are using e-cigarettes daily. A critical part of education and prevention is understanding what…
  • SUPE talking about alcohol poisoning

    Alcohol Poisoning Prevention

    This video talks about alcohol poisoning, also known as alcohol overdose, what to do or not to do when it happens and how to prevent it.
  • SUPE talking about Drugs Online

    Drugs Purchased Online

    We'll talk about how to spot the signs and codes used to purchase drugs online and most importantly, how to prevent it from happening in the first place.
LOAD MORE
DRS Logo

SUPE IS A NONPROFIT PLATFORM FUNDED AND HOSTED BY DRS. IT IS THE DRUG EDUCATION AND PREVENTION SECTION OF DRS & ADDICTED.ORG.

IT WAS CREATED TO FURTHER DRS’ MISSION TO EDUCATE PEOPLE AND TO PREVENT SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER.