Need Mental Health Help Fast? Call **ASK (star-star-2-7-5) from your cell phone or 1-800-939-5911

Quarantine Tips: Medication Safety during COVID-19

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — April 9, 2020 — 3 min read
Misused medication affects 18 million people in the United States each year. You can protect your family from the dangers of misusing prescription drugs by storing them safely.

Medication Misuse Fast Facts

  • Each year more than 60,000 young children go to the emergency room because they ingested a family member’s prescription medication
  • Teens aged 12 to 17 make up almost 5% of prescription misuse in the U.S.
  • 18- to 25-year-olds make up more than 14% of nonmedical prescription use
  • Teens and young adults who misuse prescription drugs are more likely to use other drugs

Increased Risk of Medication Misuse during COVID-19 Quarantine

As schools and colleges across the nation close their facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many children, teens, and young adults are home all day. Because of widespread layoffs and stay-at-home orders, many parents and caregivers are facing unemployment, working from home, and helping their children with online learning. Some must also juggle working in an essential industry while caring for elderly parents or high-risk relatives.

With bored children in the house and worried parents dealing with pandemic-related challenges, there’s a higher chance that prescription medication could be misused if left unlocked and in reach.

To avoid a medical crisis and keep your loved ones safe from prescription drug misuse, follow the tips below:

Medication Storage and Safety Tips to Follow during Quarantine

1. Check for expired medication.
Expired and unused medication should not be thrown away in the trash can. See the section below for tips on disposing of prescription medication while socially isolating.

2. Choose a spot for storing your medicine.
Store medicine in hard-to-reach and hard-to-see places. Children and pets should not be able to get to these areas easily.

3. Always close and put away medicine after use.
You should always close your medicine containers after use. Every. Single. Time. This means twisting the lid of the container as far as it will go or until the child lock clicks.

4. Keep prescription narcotics locked away.
Prescription narcotics (morphine, opioids, codeine, etc.) are highly addictive and especially dangerous to children and teens. Keep these types of medicines locked up in a lockbox or a locked cabinet or drawer.

5. Be cautious with prescription narcotics.
Furthermore, if you or a loved one is prescribed a narcotic, be on the lookout for irregular or secretive behavior. Even those with legal prescriptions can become addicted if not monitored closely by doctors. If you think you or a loved one might be misusing prescription opioids, take our anonymous, free mental health screening.

6. Talk to your children, teens, and other family members about medication safety.
It’s important to talk with those you are caring for about prescription medication habits. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration created this helpful guide for discussing medicine safety with children.

Disposing of Prescription Medication When You’re Socially Isolating

If you throw unused or expired prescriptions in the trash, you risk another person finding and taking them. To safely get rid of your unused/expired medication, drop them off at any drug take-back collection site. You can also usually drop them off at pharmacies with collection kiosks like Walgreens and CVS.

When you drop off your medication at the collection site, be sure to remain six or more feet away from others and practice proper hygiene. If you are sick, wear a mask or get another family member to go for you if possible.

If there are no nearby collection sites, follow the instructions on the medicine label. If there are no disposal instructions, follow these steps for safe disposal at home.
Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Stay updated and prepared with information and resources about COVID-19.

Was this article helpful?

Join our member newsletter