The Ohio State University Alumni Association

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5 tips for prescription drug handling

Ohio State's own Generation Rx program offers this advice for better storage and disposal of prescription drugs.

Here’s something all of us can do to prevent misuse of opioids: Be smart about how prescription drugs are stored at home, and responsibly dispose of them when they’re no longer needed.

1. Don’t take an extra pill here and there.

Follow the instructions printed on the medication container. The prescribed dosage is designed to give you the relief you need.

2. Don’t share medications — or take someone else’s.

“Avoid tendencies to self-diagnose and self-prescribe,” advises Generation Rx, a drug-education and safety program created at Ohio State. Each person has the potential to respond to a given drug differently, so medications are not one size fits all propositions.

3. Break the habit of keeping medications in nightstands or cabinets.

Though this may be convenient, the practice also makes drugs easily accessible to children. Instead, store them securely in lockboxes, medication safes or inside a locked cabinet or drawer.

4. Get unwanted or unused drugs out of the house.

Find a drug drop box close to home and take drugs there. Mark your calendar for an upcoming drug take-back event. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, April 28. (Locations are slated to be announced April 1.)

5. If you must dispose of drugs at home, follow these steps.

First, mix pills with something with an “ick” factor — kitty litter or coffee grounds, for example — in a bag that can be sealed. Toss the sealed bag in the trash along with the empty bottles, after you’ve either removed the labels or blacked out all the personal information on them.