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Safe drug storage and disposal

Store your medications properly so that children and pets don’t accidentally take them.

It’s also important to properly dispose of medications that are expired or that you don’t need anymore. They
clutter up your living space. Most importantly, they can be very dangerous if taken by people for whom the medications weren’t prescribed.

One of the main causes of poisoning in children is accidentally taking medicines in their home. Every year, about 450,000 calls are made to poison control centers, and about 60,000 trips to the emergency room are taken after children 6 or less take a medication without their caregiver present.

It’s very important to know how to store and dispose of medications.1


  • Go through your medications and see if any of the medicines are expired. (If they are, you will need to properly dispose of them).
  • Keep your prescription medicines in the original packaging, with the safety lock tightened.2
  • Choose a place where you live where it is safe to store medications (and even vitamins and supplements that you take). This place should be up high where children cannot get to it and they cannot see it.3
  • You may even want to lock up some medications to be sure that children and pets don’t get access to them.


  • There are several ways to dispose of medication.
  • The very best way is to take the medications to a drop box or a designated Drug Take Back Day. You can search the Drug Enforcement Administration’s website to find a location near you (Check out Take Back Day via the DEA).
  • If there is no drug drop box near you, check the medication’s packaging. It may give you information about how to properly dispose of it.
  • Make sure that you remove the label on the bottle or cross out the personal information before throwing away or recycling the packaging.

Properly storing and disposing of your medications makes your home safer—and less cluttered. You can have peace of mind knowing that you have protected children and pets from accidentally ingesting medicines that they shouldn’t.

  • Look at the Drug Flush List to see if your medicine should be flushed down the toilet.1,5
  • If not, put it in the trash after following these steps:
    • Take the medicine out of its packaging. Mix it with something gross like dirt, coffee grounds, or cat litter.
    • Put it in a sealed container, like a tied-up plastic bag.
    • Put the container in your trash.

Dispose medications that are no longer needed (Check out Take Back Day by the DEA).

If you need more ideas on safe storage and disposal of medications, email contactknovasolutions@workpartners.com or call 1-800-355-0885. We are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. MT.


  1. Drug Disposal: Questions and Answers | FDA
  2. WTC Health Program Pharmacy Benefits Factsheet (cdc.gov)
  3. Protect Your Children: Store & Use Medicines Safely | Patient Safety | CDC
  4. Drug Disposal: Questions and Answers | FDA
  5. Drug Disposal: Questions and Answers | FDA Drug Disposal: FDA’s Flush List for Certain Medicines | FDA