Dane County Drug Poisoning Prevention

Safe Drug Use and Storage

Tips for safe use of Prescription Medications

  • Tell your healthcare provider about ALL the medicines and supplements you take.
  • Never take medication that is not prescribed to you.
  • Never share your prescription medications.
  • Never take your medications more often or in higher doses than prescribed or directed.
  • Know the potentially harmful interactions of drinking alcohol while taking specific medications.
  • Taking prescription or over-the-counter medications with depressants such as sleep aids, anti-anxiety medications, or cold medicine can be dangerous.
  • Properly dispose of all unused and expired prescription and over-the-counter medications.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs – to include legally prescribed or over-the-counter medications – is not only dangerous, it is illegal.


Please consider the questions below to determine the safety of your home as it relates to safe use and storage of your prescription medications.


  • Do you tell your healthcare provider about ALL the medicines and supplements you take?
  • Have you talked with your family members about the importance of not sharing your prescription medications?
  • Have you talked with your family members about the importance of not taking others’ prescription medications?
  • Do you keep track of how many pills are in your bottle so you are immediately aware if any are missing?


Safe Drug Storage

  • Do you have prescription medications in your home?
  • Where do you store your prescription medications?
  • Are your prescription medications kept in a safe place, out of reach of kids, family and guests?
  • When was the last time you checked your medicine cabinet for expired prescription medications?
  • Have you kept prescription medications after their expiration date?
  • Have you kept unused prescription medications after your medical condition has been successfully treated?
  • How long have you kept the unused prescription medications? More than 6 months? More than a year?
  • Do you keep prescription medications in the original bottle with the label attached, and with the child-resistant cap secured?

Taking a regular ‘inventory’ of your prescription medications – whether they are for pain, sleep, anxiety, etc.; keeping them in a safe place; and disposing of them properly can and does save lives.

Store your medications securely at home.  Contact us for a free medication lock box at info@safercommunity.net

If you have any questions about the considerations listed above, please contact your medical provider to speak about specific ways you can more safely use and store your medications.

Source: UseOnlyAsDirected, Utah Department of Public Health


  • Store medications out of reach of kids, family and guests.
  • Know where your medications are at all times.
  • Keep prescribed medications in the original container with the label attached, and the child-resistant cap secured.
  • Keep track of the number of pills are in your prescription so you are immediately aware if any are missing.
  • Dispose of all unused and expired medications properly. Proper storage and disposal of all medications is essential to health and safety.
  • The majority of people who use prescription pain medications that are not prescribed to them report getting it from a family member or friend. In fact, just by having prescription pain medications in your home you are at increased risk for theft.
  • Just as pharmacies have expectations to protect and maintain their inventory of prescription pain medications, consumers should do the same.
  • Proper disposal of medications reduces the impact on the environment and lessens the chance they will be misused or abused.
  • If you maintain medical emergency storage, consult with your doctor about the shelf life of your medications and ensure they are in a safe, yet accessible, location.


Crisis Contacts

Emergency: 911


People expect the 911 system to work quickly and reliably, everywhere and with any device. The National 911 Program’s role is to help the 911 community provide optimal 911 services across the nation.

American Association of Poison Control Centers: (800) 222-1222


The American Association of Poison Control Centers supports the nation’s 55 poison centers in their efforts to prevent and treat poison exposures. Poison centers offer free, confidential medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Dane County Suicide Crisis Line: (608) 280-2600

National Suicide Prevention Line:
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
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Safe Communities is not a counseling or crisis center and does not provide direct services. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).




Drug Poisoning Information