Safe Storage and Secure Disposal

The topic of Safe Storage and Secure Disposal of prescription (Rx) drugs is complex and at the same time straight- forward. The complexity involves the many relationships and vague or missing laws or policies that govern these activities. The straightforward aspect of is ultimately each adult has to take responsibility to lock up all Rx and over the counter (OTC) medicines and dispose of out of those drugs that are out of date or not needed.

Safe Storage

How do You Safeguard Your Rx and OTC Medications in the Home

Rx drug abuse is a public health and safety crisis across Georgia. Accessibility is the number one contributing factor to all misuse and abuse of Rx and OTC drugs. The number one action that all adults can take to address the misuse or abuse of Rx drugs is “lock up” Rx and OTC medications so that only the people that are supposed to use them “use them”.

Consider this, because of the ease of access:

  • Pharmaceutical drug overdoses in the U.S. have surpassed all illegal drug overdoses of methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine combined.
  • 90% of all teens who abused pharmaceutical drugs obtain their drugs from their home medicine cabinet or from a friend’s medicine cabinet (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

So it is time NOW to STOP people; children, friends, spouses, neighbors, anybody from taking or stealing your Rx medications. Have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have your Prescription and (OTC) over the counter drugs secured where no one can get them in a storage safe.

For 3 Safe Storage Solutions that will help you to protect your family and friends Click Here.

Lock Your Meds®

Lock Your Meds® is a national multi-media campaign designed to reduce prescription drug abuse by making adults aware that they are the “unwitting suppliers” of prescription medications being used in unintended ways, especially by young people. Produced by National Family Partnership® (NFP). The campaign includes a wide array of high-quality advertisements, posters, educational materials, publicity opportunities, inter-active games and slide show presentations, with all roads leading to this website, where visitors can learn more and ask questions. To learn more about the Lock Your Meds Campaign Click Here.

Safe Kids Worldwide

Safe Kids Worldwide published an in-depth look at “Keeping Young Children Safe Around Medicine” (March 2013). A publication that every parent will want to read as kids are getting into medicine at an alarming rate. (500,000 calls to poison control centers last year!) Medications are the leading cause of child poisoning. Every year, more than 67,000 children go to an emergency room for medicine poisoning. That’s one child every eight minutes. To learn more about what you can do to keep your children safe from accidental poisonings by medicine please Click Here (

Secure Disposal

Rx and OTC medicines play an important role in treating many conditions and diseases, but when they are no longer needed it’s important to dispose of them properly to avoid harm to others. Below, are a list of four disposal options for you to consider when discarding expired, unwanted, or unused Rx and OTC drugs.

1) Drug Drop Box

The drug drop box is the most effective, efficient, secure, and environmentally friendly way to dispose of your out of date or unused Rx and OTC drugs. In Georgia drug drop boxes are located in Sheriffs and Police Departments across the state in 153 counties. Most of these drug drop off locations are in operation 24 hours a day seven days a week. To view a complete list of the over 180 available drug drop box locations and hours of availability across the state, please visit the Georgia Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Initiative (GPDAPI) website. The GPDAPI is a Rx drug abuse prevention initiative directed and implemented by The Council on Alcohol and Drugs. ONLY a certified law enforcement officer can handle and discard Rx drugs when they are collected from a drug drop box.


  • In most cases 24/7 access for residents
  • Long term low cost or no cost
  • Ease of disposal


  • Up front cost of box and signage
  • Long term promotion

2) Community “Drug Take-Back Event”

Take Back Your Meds

Take Back Your Meds is a group of over 270 health organizations, police, drugstores, local governments, environmental groups, and others in Washington State who support medicine take-back programs to reduce access to highly-addictive drugs, reduce the risk of poisonings, and reduce environmental contamination. The 270 organizations support the creation of a secure, statewide medicine return program for unwanted medicines from households. Take Back Your Meds has a very informative website that includes some helpful information on “Medicine Disposal Myths and Facts” among other information sources such as “Why Participate In a Take Back Event?” and “What Can You Do?

A Take Back Your Meds Day can be a great way to engage with the public and provide additional information on the benefits of safely disposing of unused or expired Rx and OTC medicines. These events can be very attractive to local businesses, industry, and healthcare partners which can greatly increase community participation.


  • Support of a cleaner water supply
  • Engaging one on one with the community to be the solution


  • Securing law enforcement to man the drug take back box
  • Cost in people hours to promote the event

3) Mail-Back

Many mail back programs are provided by pharmacies, but for a price. The cost can average $3.00-6.00 per envelope. The user simply discards the unwanted drugs into the envelope and places it in the mail.

Caution! – Do not use this option without using a legally approved envelope. You can only use a mail-back envelope that has been officially approved and certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).


  • Convenience to public
  • Opportunity to provide additional information which is inserted in each envelope


  • Securing permits from EPA, DEA and USPS

4) Self Disposal: In Household Trash or Flushing of Certain Drugs

If no Drug Take-Back program is available in your area, consumers can follow these simple steps from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to dispose of a small number of drugs. This is an acceptable means to dispose of these drugs because they can be especially harmful and, in some cases, fatal in a single dose if they are used by someone other than the person for whom the drug was intended or prescribed. Please go to this website to see a list of drugs recommended for disposal by throwing in the household trash or flushing down the sink or in the toilet: Below are directions to dispose of these identified drugs by either throwing them in the household trash or by flushing down the sink or toilet.

Disposal in the Household Trash

Step 1: Mix medicines (do NOT crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds.

Step 2: Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag.

Step 3: Throw the container in your household trash.

Flushing of Certain Drugs

There are a select number of drugs that can be disposed of by flushing them down the sink or toilet when they are no longer needed and when they cannot be disposed of through a drug take-back program. When you dispose of these medicines down the sink or toilet, they cannot be accidently used by children, pets, or anyone else. You may have received disposal directions for these medicines when you picked up your prescription.

The information below describes the laws and policies in the state of Georgia that guide and govern the secure disposal of Rx drugs.

Attorney General of Georgia, Sam Olens

This web link provides helpful information about secure disposal of prescription drugs in Georgia.,2086,87670814_177825814_177904764,00.html

Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010

The authority to address each states prescription drug disposal needs and programming was given to the Attorney General by the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010. In Section 1 (5) and (6) it reads: “(5) This Act gives the Attorney General authority to promulgate new regulations, within the framework of the Controlled Substances Act, that will allow patients to deliver unused pharmaceutical controlled substances to appropriate entities for disposal in a safe and effective manner consistent with effective controls against diversion. (6) The goal of this Act is to encourage the Attorney General to set controlled substance diversion prevention parameters that will allow public and private entities to develop a variety of methods of collection and disposal of controlled substances, including some pharmaceuticals, in a secure, convenient, and responsible manner. This will also serve to reduce instances of diversion and introduction of some potentially harmful substances into the environment.