How to Safeguard

How to Safeguard Your Prescription and Over The Counter (OTC) Drugs

Safeguarding your prescription and OTC (over-the-counter) drugs involves the proper use, storage, and disposal of any type of medication.

Proper Use:

In our society today more and more addictive narcotics are being prescribed and used than at any time in our history. That being said, always be sure to ask your doctor to explain how a drug affects you or a family member and what the long and short term side effects are. Do this for all drugs that are prescribed and answer these questions:

1. What is the class of the drug? Is this drug an opiate? Many people are not aware that OxyContin, OxyCodone, Perqoset and Vicodin are opiates and are highly addictive. Make sure your doctor explains this in detail and make a decision on taking such a prescription based on this.
2. Are there any Non Narcotic alternatives for the prescribed drug that is an opiate or narcotic? Try and find one that may have less side effects and be better for you or your family members.
3. How long should the drug be taken for, and how often should the drug be taken? Only take prescription drugs as written by your doctor.  Plus, only take medications that are prescribed to YOU!

Remember you should NEVER share prescription drugs with anyone. Even if it’s the same type and dose.

4. Explore information on the drug you are going to take and the risk factors associated with that drug before you make a decision for the use of any medicine. All pharmacies include information packets on that medication.  If you are unsure ask your pharmacists or your doctor.

Proper Storage:

Keep your prescription and OTC drugs in a safe location, away from the obvious places that we keep everyday items in and out of plain site. This vital responsibility and conscious effort must be enforced. Drugs that are strong narcotics and/or fall into the opiate category should be locked up in a cabinet, lock box or a strong box. A lock box should be monitored to ensure no one has access to it.  You do not want these available to your children, or their friends. An opiate pill sells for $ 20 to $60 on the street. This is how the addiction epidemic enters your backyard.    Daily medication should be dispensed for daily use, monitored and taken responsibly.

Proper Disposal:

Proper disposal of prescription drugs starts with knowing when and how to dispose of them. All prescription medications should be taken and finished as written by your doctor. If you have finished the use of any drug, OTC or prescribed, then be sure there are no renewals on the bottle before disposing of it.


If any type of medication is left over, expired or never used, there is no reason to keep them.  Proper disposal does not mean throwing them in the garbage.  Addicts are known to go through trash to find what they can.  Do not flush them down the toilet!  This can and will poison the water supply.  Unused or expired medications need to be disposed of at local drop locations.  These boxes are monitored by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the National Association for Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI)  There are also take back days nationally.  This was first enforced in the state of New Jersey.  There are allocated drop off facilities in your community.  A great way to start is to call your local police department.  They will be happy in assisting you where to dispose old prescription drugs.

Dropbox locations in NJ:

National Dropbox locations:

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