Because most people who abuse/misuse prescription pain killers report getting their drugs from friends or family members, you are at increased risk for theft just by having prescription pain medications in your home. Therefore, proper storage of all pain medications is essential.
Prescriptions that are not properly stored could:
- be stolen or taken by someone for whom the prescription is not intended
- inadvertently poison children or pets
- become damaged by being stored in an unsuitable place
Tips for safe storage:
- Store prescriptions in a cool, dry place – Warm and humid conditions (such as in a bathroom) often speed up medication break down, which may cause it to become toxic.
- Remove the cotton plug from the medicine bottle so it won’t draw moisture into the container.
- Keep prescriptions in a secure location to ensure kids, family, and guests don’t have access to them.
- Know where your pain medications are at all times.
- Store medications in the original containers with the label attached and the child-resistant cap secured – Labels provide important information about the medicine such as the expiration date and who prescribed it.
- Keep track of how many pills are in your bottle so you will know immediately if any are missing.
- Properly discard any medications that are no longer needed or have expired – Check the expiration date every time you take a medication and NEVER take medicine that has changed color, texture, or odor, even if it has not expired.
- Don’t leave medications in plain sight or places that are easily accessible for children, pets, family, or guests.
- Never share medicine with anyone for whom it was not prescribed.
- Ask your pharmacist about any specific storage instructions.