There are many potential risks related to how we use, store, and dispose of our medications. To protect ourselves and others, it is important to understand the differences between medication use versus misuse and engage in safe medication practices.
Medication safety practices
Check out these strategies to avoid medication misuse:
- Read medication labels thoroughly, including uses, directions, and warnings.
- Only use medication as directed.
- Avoid using expired medication.
- Do not share prescription medication with others. Medications affect people differently and sharing perscriptions is illegal.
- Store medication in a cool, dry place. Direct sunlight, heat, or damp conditions may change the chemical makeup of medications and make them harmful or less effective.
- Secure medication in a lockable space.
- Safely dispose of unused medication at a medication disposal site or use at-home disposal products.
Defining medication misuse
Medication misuse can be described as:
- Taking a medication in a manner or dose other than prescribed or directed
- Taking someone else’s prescription medication
Harms of over-the-counter and prescription medication misuse can include:
- Adverse drug interactions
- Worsening health issues
- Decreased academic performance
- Damaged relationships
- Legal trouble