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Safe Use, Storage, and Disposal

Safe Use

While medicine and research have provided medications to ease suffering and pain and improve the quality of life for individuals, the potential for abuse, diversion, overdose, and death has risen significantly. When not taken as prescribed, prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs.

Tips to appropriately use your medications:

  • Tell your healthcare provider about ALL medications and supplements you are taking; opioids in combination with other depressants such as sleep aids, anti-anxiety medications, or cold medicine can be dangerous.
  • Only take medications as prescribed and take no more than the prescribed dosage.
  • Never share or sell your prescription drugs.
  • Never drink alcohol while taking medication.
  • Naloxone is a safe and effective drug that reverses an opioid overdose. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Call 211 for help finding treatment referrals.
  • Put the Poison Control number 1-800-222-1222 on or near every home phone and cell phone for 24/7 access.  

Safe Storage

Most people who abuse/misuse prescription painkillers report getting their drugs from friends or family members. Oklahomans must have secure and convenient ways to store medications.

Tips to safeguard your medications:

  • Keep your prescription drugs in a secure location to make sure kids, family, and guests don't have access to your medications.
  • Know where your prescription pain medications are at all times.
  • Keep prescription pain pills in the original bottle with the label attached and the child-resistant cap secured.
  • Keep track of how many prescription pain pills are in your bottle so you are immediately aware if any are missing.

Safe DisposalInjury - Disposal In Household Trash

Consumers and caregivers should remove expired, unwanted, or unused medications from their home as quickly as possible to help reduce the chance that others may accidentally take or intentionally misuse the unneeded medication. Below are some options and special instructions for you to consider when disposing of expired, unwanted, or unused medications.

Medication Drop Box (Take-Back)

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control coordinates the program Safe Trips for Scripts. This program provides medication drop boxes in local law enforcement agencies across the state. Click here to find a drop box location near you.

Disposal in Household Trash

If there isn't a drop box available in your area, you can follow these simple steps to dispose of most medications in the household trash:

  • Place the mixture in a container such as a plastic bag;
  • Mix medications with an unpalatable substance, such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds, and seal;
  • Throw the container in your household trash; and
  • Before throwing out your empty pill bottle or other empty medication packaging, remember to scratch out all information on the prescription label to make it unreadable.

Flushing of Certain Medications

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are a small number of medications that may be especially harmful and, in some cases, fatal with just one dose if they are used by someone other than the patient for whom the medication was prescribed. To prevent accidental ingestion by children, pets, or anyone else, a few medications have specific disposal instructions indicating they should be flushed down the sink or toilet as soon as they are no longer needed, and when they cannot be disposed of through a medication drop box. Click here for a list of medications recommended for disposal by flushing.

Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Injury Prevention Service
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave., Suite 1702
Oklahoma City, OK 73102-6406

Physical Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Injury Prevention Service
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK

Telephone: (405) 426-8440
Fax: (405) 900-7588

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