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Prescription medication safety — at home

Published in Pharmacy, For the Health of It Author: Keith Karsky, RPh

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.

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