Safe Medication Storage
Many individuals misusing prescription opioids (especially adolescents and young adults) get opioids from friends and/or family members. Almost one third of Connecticut high school students misusing pain medications were given them or took them from their home or someone else’s home (CT YRBS, 2017). Open houses and other occasions where guests, or even strangers, are coming in and out of the home are also opportunities for individuals to access opioids. Safely storing all of your medications is just one way you can help prevent opioid misuse.
Safe Storage Tips:
- Keep prescription medications in the original containers. These containers often have child resistant lids to prevent young children from taking any medications. The bottle’s label will also help prevent anyone from taking the wrong medication by accident. The label also contains information on the quantity and most recent date the medication was filled which can help you count pills and see if any are missing.
- Lock your medications. Keeping your medications behind lock and key helps prevent medications from getting in the hands of children, adolescents, guests and anyone else who may enter your home. The only person who should have access to the locked medications is the person for whom they are prescribed (and a caregiver if necessary). There are a variety of ways to safely lock your medications including:
- Lock bags: These devices can have a combination or key lock. They can protect medications both at home and during travel. These bags are not indestructible and can be broken with enough force.
- Lock boxes: These devices can have a combination or key lock. They are a sturdy option but can still be broken into with enough force.
- Safes: Medications can also be kept in safes where other valuables like jewelry or important paper work are kept.
- Don’t save leftover medications. Keeping medications that are expired or unused increases the risk for medication misuse.