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April 16, 2019

It’s Spring Cleaning Time: Four Steps to Safely Clear Out Your Medicine Cabinet  

Joyce Knestrick, PhD, CRNP, FAANP 

The things in your medicine cabinet may do more harm than good. In 2016, 6.2 million Americans misused prescription drugs, and most were found in the home. Not surprisingly, one third haven’t cleaned out their medicine cabinet in the last year, and 20 percent haven’t thrown away anything in over three years.  

Luckily, it’s spring cleaning season! Here’s how to take advantage to safe-proof your home.  

  1. Remove all expired prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. They have expiration dates for a reason and can make you sicker if you take them past their prime.  
  2. Take advantage of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 29. Collect all unused painkillers and use this locator to find a drop-off location for safe disposal.  
  3. Flush any of these painkillers that may be an immediate threat in your home, if a drop-off location is not readily available.  
  4. Get rid of medications by crushing pills and combining them with something undesirable like coffee grounds or dirt before sealing and throwing in the trash.  

Don’t wait for someone to get hurt! Clean out your medicine cabinet today, and don’t forget to lock away prescriptions so they don’t fall into the wrong hands.