Help protect your loved ones with safe medication storage
Leslie Martin knows all too well the importance of safe medication storage. She started working for Express Scripts when her son was only 2 years old and never imagined that her own prescription medication would lead to his death.
“I never thought he would take a bottle of medication that wasn’t his and use it,” Martin said.
Her son was 19 years old when he died from an accidental opioid overdose in 2013. Martin said her son was having a tough time dealing with anxiety and, unbeknownst to her, decided he would self-medicate.
Sadly, Martin’s story is not uncommon.
In the U.S. in 2021 alone:
- 16.3 million people misused prescription medications1
- 107,622 died from overdoses — 75% of those from opioids2
Data also shows that 66% of teens and young adults who abuse prescription medications aren’t actually prescribed them. They take them from their family, friends, or acquaintances.3
“The amount of medication it takes to overdose is much smaller than you might think — especially with certain drugs,” Martin said. “It just takes one mistake.”
To keep her medications safe, she now keeps them locked up in a biometric safe. That’s a safe that only unlocks with a fingerprint, eye scan, or voice recognition.
To help others, Martin spends her time volunteering for Winning the Fight, a nonprofit organization providing drug education, support, and necessary resources to youth and families dealing with addiction.
Medication safety tips
Here are a few simple tips from Express Scripts® Pharmacy to help keep your medications safe and secure:
- Keep all medication stored in a place that’s up, away, and out of sight. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medications.
- After you’re finished taking a dose of your medication, put it away immediately.
- Taking an expired medication could cause serious health problems or unintended side effects, so it’s important to check the dates regularly and dispose of any medication beyond its expiration date.
- The same goes for any medication you’re no longer taking. Dispose of it at a drug take-back site, or check to see if it’s on the FDA Flush List.
- If you ever suspect a poisoning, contact Poison Control right away online or by calling 800.222.1222.
1 National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics: Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics (accessed February 16, 2023): https://drugabusestatistics.org/prescription-drug-abuse-statistics/.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics: U.S. Overdose Deaths in 2021 Increased Half as Much as in 2020 – But Are Still Up 15% (May 11, 2022): https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/nchs_press_releases/2022/202205.htm.
3 Partnership to End Addiction: Medicine Abuse: What’s Happening & Why (accessed February 16, 2023): https://drugfree.org/article/medicine-abuse-whats-happening-why/.
Posted date: April 13, 2023