Safe Storage and Disposal of Opioids

 If you do have opioids in the house, it is important to spend some time thinking about how you are storing and disposing of them. Safe storage and disposal can prevent accidental poisonings by children or others taking the drugs by mistake as well as diversion of legal medications to illegal distribution channels.

Opioids should be stored in a secure location that is not accessible to children. You might have a safe or locked cabinet to store them in – if not consider getting a lockbox. There are inexpensive options that can be secured with a key or digital code. It’s a good idea to periodically count the number of pills you have left to assure that they are not being diverting without your knowledge.

When you are done taking a medication and have some left, it is important to dispose of them safely. It is not recommended to flush or put medications down the drain – they could enter water supplies and negatively impact ecosystems. The best way to do this is to drop off the unused medications at a prescription drug drop box, which are availble at police departments throughout LLHD’s service area. Find out more about drop boxes, including locations, here.

Other disposal options include envelopes that deactivate the chemicals in the medications – these are sometimes available through the pharmacy and LLHD has a limited number for distribution. Please contact [email protected] for more information. If you cannot safely dispose of unused medication using any of these options, please do what you can to make the medications less appealing before you throw them away – ideas include mixing them with hot water and then putting that mixture in used coffee grounds or kitty litter.


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