WHAT IS THE SAFEST WAY TO STORE AND DISPOSE OF MEDICATIONS?

MARCH 16, 2012
By Pam Hiebert, MD, Bozeman Deaconess Internal Medicine Associates

Prescription drug abuse—a growing problem here in Montana— is associated with unused and expired drugs in the home that are not stored securely or properly disposed. These medications may be stolen if they are left unsecured in medicine cabinets and on counters in the home. And, if thrown down the toilet or into the garbage, they can contaminate our water supply.

I am pleased to report that Gallatin County has a new Drug Disposal Drop Box, located in the Law and Justice Center Lobby, where you can safely dispose unused or outdated medications. The program, funded by a grant from the Montana Department of Justice, packages the pills in leak proof containers and takes them to the county landfill where they are buried. For details on the new program call the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office at 582-2100.

In the event you choose to get rid of leftover medications so they don’t harm others do the following: Dissolve pills in water in a container or plastic bag, add flour or coffee grounds or kitty litter. Stir together and throw away in a garbage can.

It’s also really important for you to secure your medications in your home. Keep them safely out of reach of children and visitors. Montana ranks third in the nation for teen abuse of prescription pain killers. So, discuss the subject of prescription drug abuse with your teens. Make them aware of the health risks—including death—
that exist when abusing prescription medications.


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