How and where should I store prescription painkillers?

While prescription opioid painkillers can be helpful and beneficial in some circumstances, about 11.5 million adults misuse prescription painkillers at least once during the course of a year, and 3.3 million people ages 12 and older are currently misusing them. More than half of people who misuse prescription painkillers get the drugs for free from friends or relatives. Many people store painkillers in the medicine cabinet, but storing your medications in an easily accessible place means they’re available for children, teens, or others to find and abuse.

Store them out of sight!

Keep your prescription painkillers secure and out of sight. This can prevent them from falling into the hands of someone who can abuse them. It can also prevent someone in your house from accidentally taking the medication. And when there are children and teens in the house, it’s best to keep painkillers out of sight and out of reach.

Lock them up!

Store your prescription painkillers and other medications in a lockbox, safe, or locked medicine cabinet. This is one of the most effective ways to prevent abuse or accidental use. Many companies offer lockable medication storage options.

Safely dispose of them!

Unused medications are more dangerous than you think. That’s why it’s vital to safely dispose of unneeded and expired prescriptions. Bring unused painkillers to an approved local drop box, which may be located at your local police department or pharmacy. There are safe Drug Take Back disposal sites available throughout the State of Minnesota. See Drug Take Back for an interactive tool to find a disposal location near you.