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What’s in Your Medicine Cabinet?

Perhaps the more important question to ask is “Who has access to your medicine cabinet?”

Most teens report taking prescription medications from family members without their knowledge. Those leftover Vicodin from a recent surgery can end up at a “pill party” or sold for $20-$30 a pill on the street. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are the most commonly misused substances by Americans age 14 and older, after marijuana and alcohol (National Institute on Drug Abuse).

Members of our community have had medications stolen as part of break-ins, during realtor open houses, or when vendors are onsite doing repair work.

Safely storing and disposing of medications are important – and easy – steps you can take to prevent drug misuse in your home.

Safely Store Medications

–       Know what’s in your medicine cabinet and take regular inventory.

–       Educate your family members on the dangers of taking medication that is not prescribed to you.

–       If you’re concerned about medication misuse or substance abuse within your home, you can store medications in a locked box or safe.

–       Do not keep unused or expired medications around.

–       Talk with your physician and/or pharmacist regarding quantity limitations.

Safely Dispose of Medications

–       In our community, several sheriff’s offices have medication collection bins in their lobbies. You can drop off medications, no questions asked, at the King George Sheriff’s Office, Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, or Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.

–       Local law enforcement, in partnership with the Partners in Aging group, hosts “Operation Medicine Cabinet” twice a year. It’s a one-day event held as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Drug Take Back Days. There are typically seven convenient locations throughout our area. You don’t even have to get out of your car. Again, no questions asked. [call out to October 28th date and info]

–       Can’t make it to the sheriff’s office or don’t want to wait for “Operation Medicine Cabinet?” You can assemble a homemade medication disposal kit using coffee grounds or cat litter.

–       Please DO NOT flush or simply throw away medications. This can lead to contaminated waterways as well as cause harm to fish and wildlife.

Safely storing and disposing of medications are easy and simple ways you can help prevent drug misuse in your home and in our community.

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