Safely Handling and Disposing of Medications

All medicines, whether prescription or purchased over-the-counter, are dangerous if used improperly. They can be potentially poisonous to people of all ages. Yet many of us leave medications unsecured; treat medication as ‘candy’; set medications out with our meal so we don’t forget not realizing that the multi-colored pills might be picked up by a small child.

Vitamins, supplements, aspirin and many other over-the-counter remedies, as well as prescriptions medicines, should be purchased with child-resistant closures and stored securely. Here are some other best practices for handling medicine safely.

• Do not store medications, prescription or non-prescription in a location that could easily be accessed by a child. These include night stands, purses, kitchen table or easily accessed cupboard.
• Do not separate the medication from its original container. Capsules and tablets may look alike but have totally different effects. It’s not in the original container it is not safe to use.
• You can take unwanted or expired to your pharmacist for safe disposal.
• Do not take someone else’s medications.
• Complete all medications as per the instructions on the bottle or until told to discontinue it by your family doctor.
• Store medications in a cool dry location that limits exposure to light.
• If the medication is expired such as a cold medication, do not use. It is quite possibly ineffective or even dangerous.
• Personal care products, vitamins, cosmetics and general first aid supplies are also potentially dangerous in the hands of a child. Keep these stored safely.
• Follow the instructions printed on the container for all over-the-counter medications. Take one or two extra is a recipe for disaster.
• Read warning labels that state things like “May cause drowsiness” or “Do not combine with alcohol” as these warnings are for your safety

Clean out the cupboard, medicine cabinet or bathroom closet of any unused, outdated, and expired medications on a regular basis. Dispose of them safely by simply collecting them all to take to your local pharmacy.
We often think the “medications” are only those prescribed by your doctor but vitamins and other herbal supplements can also be hazardous. Make a point of speaking to your pharmacist about all medications both over the counter, prescription and herbal so that combinations that could possibly be bad for you can be avoided. Your pharmacist can help you make safe choices but also record this information in your health record for future reference.
As parents and care givers currently struggle to source pain and fever medications, compounding pharmacies might be an alternative for you. Visit one near you, we have some in our city that may be able to help. It’s flu season and your local pharmacy maybe able to help with flu or other vaccinations too!
Switching gears, we want to remind everyone that our wrapped up for the holidays program is underway. Please drop of blankets, winter coats and other winter gear, at our location or at our partners the Gateway Mall, CTV, and Anderson Motors. We want to keep those in need warm, safe, and dry this winter. With your support we will do just that!