Safe Storage and Disposal of Medication

Is Your Home Safe? Poster with url to 

Safe Storage of Medication

3 reasons to lock medications:

  1. 20-25% of teens report taking prescription medications from family without permission
  2. Every 10 minutes a child visits the ER for medication poisoning
  3. 90% of child poisonings occur in the home
    Lock It Up: Medicine Safety in Your Home

How to Safely Store Medications:

  1. Secure out of reach of children
  2. Keep prescription medications, especially opioids (pain relievers), in lock boxes.
    a. Purchase lock boxes at local pharmacy
    b. Obtain free medication lock boxes by emailing the Prevention program or filling out a request form.

Find more information on safe medication use here 

Learn more about over the counter (OTC) medication misuse

Review this tips on talking to kids of all ages on safe medication use

Safe Disposal of Medication

Six Reasons Why You Should Safely Dispose of Unused, Unwanted and Expired Prescription Medication

  1. Unused or expired prescription medications are a public safety issue, leading to accidental poisoning, overdose, and abuse.
  2. The majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs get them from family and friends – and the home medicine cabinet.
  3. Pharmaceutical drugs can be just as dangerous as street drugs when taken without a prescription or a doctor’s supervision.
  4. The non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in America.
  5. Unused prescription drugs thrown in the trash can be retrieved and abused or illegally sold.
  6. Unused drugs that are flushed contaminate the water supplyProper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment.

Download our flyer here

Permanent Drug Take-Back Boxes

Arlington County has taken a proactive measure in the fight against prescription drug misuse by installing four permanent drug-take back boxes. The public can now safely and securely dispose of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 day a year. This disposal service is free and anonymous:

More about the County’s Prescription Drug Take-Back Boxes and Arlington's Interactive Map

Find additional locations across the United States using the DEA's search tool.


Please help promote this potentially lifesaving service to anyone in your community who may benefit by posting our flyer | en Español

Additional Safe Disposal Methods

Medication Deactivation bags – Simply place the unused medication in the bag and add water.  To obtain, request via form or email

Medication Deactivation bags

Disposal in the household trash – If no take-back programs or DEA-registered collectors are available in your area, and there are no specific disposal instructions in the product package insert, such as flushing described below, you can also follow these simple steps to dispose of most medicines in the household trash:

How to dispose of medicines in the household trash