With Event Postponed, Here is How to Secure or Dispose of Unneeded Meds

April 23, 2020
pill bottles

NHRMC wants to remind residents about safe medication storage at home as the current COVID-19 pandemic has caused NHRMC’s upcoming spring medicine disposal event to be postponed.

Last April nearly 4,000 pounds of medication and close to 40,000 sharps were collected at the Spring Medication Disposal event organized by NHRMC.  This year’s spring event would have been held on Saturday, April 25.

“I know people were looking toward this next medicine takeback day to get rid of medicines or clean out their cabinets,” said NHRMC Pharmacy Resident Geena Eglin, PharmD. “Our goal is to remind everyone during this time of the importance of securing those meds.”

Dr. Eglin said those medications should be kept separate from medicines currently taken and can be saved until the spring event is rescheduled or taken to permanent medication drop box locations around New Hanover County and in surrounding counties where medications can be disposed of year-round.

“Whether they be over-the-counter or prescription medicines, keeping medicine secure at home regardless of who’s in the house and who’s not is a really good practice to get used to because we’d rather be proactive than reactive with these types of things,” Dr. Eglin said. “Securing your medications and quarantining meds that are either expired or that you’re not using anymore is a public safety issue and can be a health issue.”

Medication cabinets at home are susceptible to misuse, abuse and drug diversion, where prescription medicines end up being used illegally or shared with someone other than the person for whom the medicine was prescribed.

 Some tips for safe storage of medication to be disposed include:

  • Keep unused and expired medications separate from current medications
  • Store expired medications and medications you want to dispose in an area in the home not open to visitors
  • Make sure there’s a clear distinction between expired and current, non-expired medications the patient is currently taking.  Using labels and putting old medication to be disposed in sealed plastic bags or a separate room of the house can help make necessary distinction.
  • Dispose of unneeded medications at take-back events or permanent disposal sites.

To find permanent medicine drop off locations in the area visit: https://www.nhrmc.org/about/community-resources/medication-disposal

NHRMC holds medication disposal events twice a year, and the support of the community, community partners and volunteers help make the events successful each year.