Use, Store, and Dispose of Medications Safely
Use Medication Safely
Opioids and other medications can provide relief from illness and pain. These drugs can be taken safely, but only when used properly and under a doctor’s close watch. Doctors looking to learn more about safe prescribing practices can visit the Maine CDC’s Eyes Open initiative website.
Eyes Open also offers comprehensive tips for safe medication use – check them out here. National studies have shown that greater than 75% of heroin users utilized prescription painkillers as their gateway to illicit drug use. For four easy steps you can take to use prescription pain medications safely, check out this resource from the Drug Enforcement Administration (Maine).
Store Medication Safely
Safe storage is a big part of stopping drug misuse and abuse. Keeping your medications safe and out of reach takes very little time and keeps children, pets, family and visitors safe. Safe storage isn’t just a smart idea—it’s a responsibility.
Tips for Storing Your Medications
- Lock all prescriptions in a cabinet, safe or private drawer.
- Keep your medications stored above the reach of children.
- Store your prescriptions in their original containers.
Medications that end up in the wrong hands (especially controlled substances such as opioids) can be extremely dangerous. Don’t take the risk—it’s not worth losing a loved one. For more helpful tips on safe medication storage, visit eyesopenforme.org/safe-storage.
Get Rid of Medication Safely
Most people who misuse prescription drugs get them from family, friends, and acquaintances. You can make a difference by keeping track of the medicine you have, by rethinking where and how you keep your medications in your home, and by safely disposing of any unused medications.
Participate in National Take Back Day – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) hosts a national Take Back Day twice a year. Check out this website for more information.
Safe Disposal at Home – Check out the resources below for information on how to safely dispose of your medication.
- DEA brochure: The Drug Enforcement Administration provides guidance on the right way to dispose of unused medicine in this PDF.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA): This webpage lists options and instructions you can refer to when disposing of expired, unwanted, or unused medicines.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
Permanent Drop Boxes Near You – You can search for permanent drop boxes near you at the sites below (be sure to call the location before trying to drop off your medication in case they have discontinued service).