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Prescription medication safety — at home

Published on June 21, 2016

Prescription medication safety — at home

Keith Karsky, RPh
Coordinator – Retail Pharmacy Services
CentraCare Health

Most people take medications correctly, but there is a growing trend of individuals taking prescription medications for nonmedical reasons. Most people take medications correctly, but there is a growing trend of individuals taking prescription medications for nonmedical reasons. One of the main reasons is because they are readily available. Recently, one in five U.S. teens said they had used drugs without a prescription; of these, 62 percent said they did so because it was easy to take them from the medicine cabinet at home.

Medication, if not disposed of properly, can lead to unlawful misuse; it also can lead to accidental ingestion and overdose. Keep others in your home from being tempted by these drugs. Here are some tips for keeping your medications safe at home and for correctly disposing of old or unwanted medications.

  • Keep all medications, including vitamins, out of reach and out of sight.
  • Keep child resistant caps on medication containers.
  • Do not mix different medications in the same container.
  • Keep all medications that are “controlled substances” such as narcotic pain relievers, stimulants and anti-anxiety medications in a locked cabinet or safe.
  • Sort through prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements to determine which are expired and therefore possibility ineffective. 
  • If you are unsure what is in a bottle, bring it to your pharmacist or health care provider for identification.
  • Don’t throw unused or unwanted medications in the trash or flush them down the toilet. Dispose of them at county drop-off sites so these medications do not end up in our water supply.

Many local sheriff offices in Central Minnesota have drug take back programs. To learn about one near your home, review the links below.

perscription drug drop off

Medication Drop Box Locations

To dispose of unused or expired medications, find a permanent county drop-off site near you.

Benton County

Sherburne County

Stearns County

Todd County

Wright County

Health information accessed through www.centracare.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We strive to present reliable, up-to-date health information on our web site and “For the Health of It” blog. However, this information is not intended for the purpose of diagnosing or prescribing. Please contact your health care provider if you have any concerns or questions about specific content that may affect your health. Log in to MyChart to send a secure message to your provider.

About the Author

Dr. Kevin Sirmons

Keith Karsky
Coordinator
CentraCare Retail Pharmacy

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