Living with Chronic Pain

Medication Safety Practices


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 60,000 children require emergency department care each year because they accessed and ingested medications while unsupervised. Keeping medications or vitamins in the home is unavoidable, so safe medication practices must be followed.

Tips for safe storage

  • Medication should be stored in a location out-of-reach and out-of-sight of children to prevent curiosity and accidental ingestion.
  • Prescriptions should be stored according to package directions; the bathroom is not a good place for medication storage due to high humidity levels.
  • Medication should be put away every time after use.
  • Safety caps on medication bottles should always be secured.
  • Children in the home should be taught about medication safety.
  • Medication should never be compared to candy when trying to urge children to take their medication.
  • Family members, guests and any visitors should be advised to keep purses, bags or anything that may contain medication out-of-reach and out-of-sight of children.
  • The Poison Control Center phone number (1-800-222-1222) should be kept in a handy place to save valuable time in an emergency.

Tips to prevent prescription theft

Unfortunately, prescription theft is also a concern. When depending on medications to function, having them stolen can throw one's life into chaos. Here are a few tips to prevent this from happening:

  • Individuals should be discreet about any medications they currently take to help prevent theft.
  • Regular counts of medications should be done to ensure none are missing.
  • If medications are ordered by mail, installing a locking mailbox helps to ensure medications are not stolen from the mailbox.
  • Medication safes provide secure storage in the home and are easily concealed out of sight.
  • Empty medication bottles with label information intact should not be placed in garbage cans or recycling containers that are easily viewed by the public. All personal information should be removed from the bottle before placing it in a recycling container or garbage can.
  • When traveling (even if just running an errand), medication should be kept in the original container from the pharmacy.
  • Prescription medications should never be shared or sold under any circumstances.

It is easy to become careless with medications when an individual requires several medications on a daily basis. However, it is vital to be discreet and practice safe storage, no matter what. It is difficult to determine who may be dealing with an addiction issue or who would steal medication to sell it for monetary gain.

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