Pennsylvania Opioid Prevention Project

paopp - medicine cabinetDid you know that 75% of young people who misuse prescription painkillers get them from friends and family, not doctors? As a parent, you need to monitor the prescriptions in your medicine cabinet – to use them as prescribed, safely store when in use and dispose them appropriately when finished. Never share unused medications. A medication that has been safely prescribed to you or your child could be dangerous for someone else. Make sure to talk with your child about the risks of taking someone else’s medication.


To safely store your medication:

  • Remove prescriptions from the medicine cabinet.
  • Keep all medicine, prescription and over-the-counter, in a safe place only you know about.
  • Lock the cabinet or place in which you are storing your medications.


Aside from keeping track of medications in your household and restricting your child’s access to them, safely disposing of all medicine is another step in preventing their misuse. Dispose of all medications properly by utilizing drug take back boxes. Many regions in Pennsylvania have medication drop boxes that allow citizens to turn in unused drugs in specific locations. Search for prescription drug take-back locations in your county. Dispose medications in the trash by following these tips:


  • Mix the medicine with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter, and discard. Remove them from their original packaging and place them in a sealable bag that does not leak.
  • Do not flush medicine down the drain or toilet unless the directions on the packaging say otherwise.
  • Prevent unauthorized refills by removing any personal, identifiable information from prescription bottles or pill packages before you throw them away.


>> When in doubt about proper disposal, talk to your pharmacist.