The Importance of Storing Drugs Safely

The Importance of Storing Drugs Safely

There are serious and possibly even disastrous consequences from storing drugs improperly. Drugs are typically stored in the bathroom medicine cabinet. This seems perfectly logical and reasonable at first, but on further reflection the problems with this practice become apparent. For one thing, drugs stored in bathrooms are continually exposed to changing heat and humidity conditions, which may alter a drug’s chemical composition. As a result the drugs may lose their effectiveness or produce unpredictable and possibly dangerous effects.

How Children are at Risk from Improperly Stored Drugs

Drugs stored in medicine cabinets may be accessible to children. Children by nature are curious and have a tendency to put things in their mouths. Children are also ignorant of the dangers of consuming drugs. Furthermore, they are smaller, which means that any given amount of any given drug will have a much greater effect on them. Many prescription and even over-the-counter drugs can have negative or even disastrous effects on children. Absentmindedly leaving an unfinished prescription of Vicodin or Lortab where a child can reach it can result in tragedy.

Older children and teenagers may be tempted to experiment with drugs they find in the medicine cabinet. Recreational abuse of prescription drugs has become very popular among young people, many of whom have heard drug use glorified by their peers but are unaware of the dangers involved. Leaving prescription drugs where a teenager can find them may tempt her to try them. This can lead to disastrous consequences, including the possibility of becoming addicted or dying from a drug overdose.

Prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs should be stored in secure places out of the reach of children.

How Improperly Disposing of Drugs may Contribute to Illegal Drug Use

Once you stop to consider it, the possible dangers of storing drugs improperly seem obvious. However, what may be less obvious are the possible consequences of disposing of drugs improperly. Drugs that are simply thrown into the garbage may also be accessible to children with possibly disastrous consequences.

Another possible consequence of simply throwing unused drugs away is that they may be retrieved by recreational drug users or addicts, thereby contributing to illegal drug use and the resultant harm to individuals and to society. Addicts who retrieve drugs from the garbage may use them themselves or sell them to others. Prescription drugs that are diverted into the illicit supply in this way may find their way into the public schools and may cause death.

Unused drugs should be sealed in a separate container to conceal them. For instance, wrap your unused pills in a discarded wrapper or paper bag, place the bag or wrapper in a discarded can or jar, and bury the can or jar deep in the garbage. To be extra safe you can take your unused drugs back to the pharmacy, where the pharmacy staff will praise your conscientiousness and happily dispose of them for you.

How to Store Drugs Safely

If you have any questions about drugs, proper ways to store them or any related topic, please call our toll-free helpline today. Counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have.