Safe Medication Habits Promote Healthy Homes and Communities

October 12, 2018

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 82 percent of American adults take at least one medication, and 29 percent take five or more.  Medications are a vital part of healing from illness or injury and managing ongoing conditions in order to be healthy and get the most out of life.

While medications can provide many benefits, misusing them can be detrimental to health and negatively impact the health and safety of the community.  Here are some reminders from Colorado Plains Medical Center to help develop safe medication habits:

Use medications responsibly.  Take medications only as prescribed by the doctor and don't share prescription medications with anyone else.  Medicines can be just as dangerous as street drugs when taken without a prescription or doctor's supervision.  Always keep a list of the medications currently being taken or that are taken on occasion.  Include the medication name, dose, how often it is taken, the method for taking the medication (by mouth, injection, etc.) and the reason for taking it.

In addition to prescriptions, include over-the-counter medications, herbals, vitamins, and dietary supplements on this list.  Share the list with close family members and keep a copy in a wallet or purse.  Include allergies, physician contact information, and preferred pharmacy information on this list.  Don't hesitate to ask a doctor or pharmacist about side effects or drug interactions involving medications.

Store medications properly. Always relock the cap on medicine bottles and keep medicines in a safe and locked location out of the reach of children and visitors.  Each year, approximately 60,000 children visit the ER after accessing medications when adults aren't present.  Many people who become addicted to opioid medications get them from a friend or relative's medicine cabinet.

Safely dispose of unused or expired medications.   Don't throw them in the trash or flush them down the toilet.  Medications that are thrown away can be easily retrieved and abused or illegally sold.  Medicine that is flushed down the toilet can contaminate the water supply.  Safe disposal of medications can help prevent accidental poisoning, overdose, and abuse, and promotes a healhy environment for family and neighbors.

Find a medication drop box or take-back program in the community for proper disposal.  Medication drop boxes are a convenient, hassle-free way to safely dispose of unused and expired medications.  Medication drop boxes are free and anonymous and can be found at the Fort Morgan Police Department located at 901 East Beaver Avenue.  The boxes can be accessed during the week Monday - Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

By properly disposing of your unused and expired medications, homes will be safer and the community will be healthier.  For information on prescription drug abuse, visit www.DEA.gov; www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com; and www.JustThinkTwice.com.  Information about safe medication use can be found at the website:  http://ConsumerMedSafety.org/.  Colorado Plains Medical Center's pharmacy staff can also answer medication questions.  They can be contacted at 970-542-3327.