Inform patients about safe storage and disposal practices.
A. Safe Storage:
Per the National Safety Council, opioid medications need to be stored securely, preferably locked up just the way you would if you keep a firearm in your home:
• Choose a location in your house that is up and away and out of sight of children and visitors. Install a lock or use a locking medicine cabinet.
• Return medication to your secure location after every use. Avoid leaving medication or pill containers on countertops, tables or nightstands in open view where others can easily access them.
• Do not keep loose pills in easily opened plastic bags or containers in your purse, luggage or office drawer. Locking travel cases are available to carry prescription medicines.
B. Safe Disposal:
Per the National Safety Council, once an individual is finished taking an opioid painkiller, they should promptly dispose of them and not keep these medications for “later.”
• Take-back programs and events allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal.
• Many pharmacies offer mail-back programs where you can pick up a drug disposal envelope at their nearest store. Most pharmacies charge a small fee for a postage paid envelope.
• Avoid flushing prescriptions down the toilet or pouring in a drain because they can pollute water supplies. In some states, it is illegal to flush any medications.