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How to Safeguard and Dispose of Medications

By Edited Jun 2, 2015 2 3

What should you do with your old medications? How can you keep you current medications in a safe place?

Nearly everyone has a medicine cabinet full of prescription medicines. Usually, these are medications that we use on a regular basis, and want to keep in a handy place. Sometimes, these are old medications that have not been used up. Sometimes we keep them because we believe that we might need them, again. Other times we keep our old, expired medications because we don't know how or where we can dispose of them. One problem with keeping your medications in a handy location is an issue that may never have occurred to you. Did you know that your medications could be attractive to thieves? To make matters worse, the thieves could be someone you know.

Old prescriptions can be dangerous in the wrong hands

 

Teens

Teens often look for drugs in their parents' and grandparents' medicine cabinets. Police in our area have warned parents and teachers that teens often hold what are called "Trail Mix" parties. In these parties, teens will steal a variety of drugs from their parents and grandparents homes and toss them into a bowl. Then, when everyone has arrived at the party, they reach into the bowl, grab a handful of pills, and down them with alcohol. This is a highly dangerous practice. Recently, in our community, two teens became very ill from combining antidepressants, pain pills, alcohol and who knows what else. If they had taken more of the pills, or had grabbed some sleeping pills, as well, they might have ended up dying. If you have these types of drugs in your medicine cabinet, it is urgent that you keep them locked up.

Young Children

Young children sometimes think that medications are actually candy. Sometimes this is the fault of parents who inadvertently coax their children into taking medicine by telling them that it is candy. In other cases, the children see the bright colored tablets or capsules and think they will taste like M&M's or similar candies. Unfortunately, by the time the child realizes that the pills don't taste very good, they may have taken a dangerous amount. Embarrassed, they may not tell anyone what they did until they become sick.

Visitors to your home

Whether the visitors are your neighbors or guests at a party, your medications should be locked up. Sometimes individuals who have had trouble affording their own medications, look in their friends' medicine cabinets and try to steal what they need. This can also happen during Realtor Open Houses, if your home is for sale. It has even been known to happen when a Realtor has had a private showing in a home. Sadly, in this case some of the worse offenders have been the elderly, who are trying to get cholesterol, blood pressure or pain medication.

Thieves and Burglars

Another reason to keep your medications locked up and hidden is because burglars will not only take your jewelry, silver, electronics and other easy to carry items, but they will also look for medications. Some medications can be sold by drug dealers at a substantial profit.Although your other personal property may be of more immediate concern to you in a burglary, you should also check your medicine cabinet if you have been robbed, and add any medications you believe were taken to your police report. Some medications can be quite expensive to replace.

Lock up your Medication

As you can see, there are many reasons to lock up your medications, even if you live alone or there are no children in your home. Would you really know if a few pills were slipped from your medication bottles occasionally? If you had a party or held an open house, would you have any idea who took a bottle of pills? It is much safer for everyone if you keep your medications carefully locked away where they cannot be easily stolen.

If you would like to order a locking medicine cabinet, you can check out the choices available by using this direct link to locking medicine cabinets from Amazon.  They have styles that fit in your wall, in a vanity drawer or look like a chest or cabinet.  There is sure to be a design that will work for you and help your keep your prescriptions safe.

Destroy Old Medication

Many cities sponsor days when you can turn in your old medications, so they can be disposed of properly. Call the waste sanitation department in your city to ask their suggestions for disposing of old medication. Never flush old pills down the toilet, because our water systems are becoming contaminated by birth control pills, antidepressants, pain pills, sleeping pills, muscle relaxants and other medications, and no one knows what the long-term consequences will be. If you do dispose of the medications yourself, you should mix them with something unpalatable, like kitty litter or coffee grounds, seal everything in a container, and then throw it into your trash.

For other safety tips for you and your family, you may want to read:

Medical Specialties

Food Safety Tips for School Lunches

Halloween Safety Tips for Kids

Are Thieves Targeting Your Car

Teach Your Children Safety Around Electricity

Why Worry About Drug and Alcohol Abuse Among Teens

Here is An Inexpensive Way to Keep Your Medicines Safe

Medicine Safe-Lock box to secure prescription medication-fits inside Medicine Cabinets /Vanity Drawer
Amazon Price: $39.95 $29.88 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 2, 2015)
This lockbox is a good way to keep your medications locked up, without having to remodel your bathroom!
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Comments

Sep 27, 2010 8:46am
BlogMakesMoney
thumbs up for nice article lot of nice tips
Sep 29, 2010 4:05pm
divaonline
You opened my eyes to a lot of issues related to medications. Thanks for a great article!
Oct 24, 2014 11:55am
Deborah-Diane
So many people do not realize the dangers of having prescription medicine in their home. The solutions are easy and affordable. They could also save a life!
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