Rx Drug Take-Back Day, October 2016.
Rx Drug Take-Back Day, October 2016.

Tips to Store and Dispose of Medicine Safely

Author: Public Health Department
Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 10:01 AM

More than 400 pounds of medication were recently returned at Rx Drug Take-Back Day here in SLO County. Keep reading for tips on safely storing and disposing of medication year-round. Medicines that are stored and disposed of properly aren’t available for accidents or misuse.


You can play a part in keeping our community safe from drug overdose with simple changes at home: make it part of your routine to store and dispose of medication safely.

Simply put, medicines that are stored and disposed of properly  aren’t available for accidents or misuse.

That means keeping them out of the hands (or paws) of a curious toddler, a pet, children and their friends, houseguests or even people who stop by your home briefly. Simple steps – and an upcoming event here in SLO – make it easy to do the right thing.

Safe Storage. Keep medication safe and secure at home:

  • Take an inventory of the medications in your home every six months.
  • Store your medicine someplace that is convenient for you, but out of plain sight and not easily accessible to others.
  • Choose a location that is cool and dry. The bathroom is usually not a good place to store medicine, as it is often hot and humid.
  • For opioids and ADHD medication, consider storing these in a locked or well-hidden location. These medications are the most commonly misused by adolescents.
  • After you take your medication, put it back in its place. Never leave your medicine bottle out on a table or counter.
  • Keep your medicine in the bottle it came in, so you do not confuse it with a different medication. If you use a weekly pill box, keep the original bottles so you can refer back to the dosing instructions, refill information, and expiration date. Never mix different medications in the same bottle.

Safe Disposal. When medicine is expired or no longer needed:

  • Ask the pharmacist for a safe disposal “take-back” envelope when you fill your prescription. All pharmacies in SLO County either have a drug take-back kiosk or will give you an envelope that is postage paid and pre-addressed to a safe drug disposal facility.
  • Visit DisposeMyMeds.org to find other authorized medicine disposal locations near you.
  • Drop off old or unused medication at Rx Drug Take-Back Day. The most recent drug take-back day on October 28, 2017 saw more than 400 pounds of medication returned – the most ever collected here in SLO County. The next take-back day will be in April 2018 at the California Highway Patrol station in San Luis Obispo. For more information, call 805-781-4278.

By safely storing and disposing of your medication, you'll be doing your part to prevent accidental poisonings  and unsafe drug use here in SLO County. Learn more about local overdose prevention efforts at opioidsafetyslo.org.