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What's Your Prescription Medicine I.Q.? Find out here.
America's Prescription Medicine I.Q.

While prescription medicines are present in almost all U.S. households, many people are unaware of how to properly store and dispose of them. A Safeguard My Meds survey shows that:

  • A new national survey shows that while an overwhelming majority of Americans (94%) say that it is extremely or very important to safely store and dispose of prescription medicine, many are not taking the proper steps to safeguard medications in the home.3
  • More than two-thirds (68%) of those surveyed indicated that they keep Rx medicine in an unlocked cabinet, closet or drawer in their household. Respondents most frequently said they store Rx medicine in the bathroom (53%) and kitchen (49%) – two potentially vulnerable, high-trafficked places where unsecured medication can be accessed by anyone entering the home, including teens and young adults.3
  • When it comes to getting rid of old or unused Rx medicine, 35% say they dispose of it once a year or less, or just when they think about it. One in eight (12%) say they don’t dispose of old or unused Rx medicine at all.3
  • Alarmingly, 28% said they also leave Rx medicine out in the open on a counter or table; nearly one in four respondents (23%) report keeping it in a purse, handbag or briefcase.3
  • Fifteen percent (15%) of respondents even admitted that they have shared an Rx medicine with another person for whom it wasn’t intended. Almost one in five respondents (18%) also revealed they have ‘borrowed’ an Rx medicine from someone else. Taking another person’s Rx medicine can be just as dangerous – and potentially as lethal – as taking illegal street drugs.3
  1. Kaiser Family Foundation. Prescription Drug Trends, 2009. Available at http://www.kff.org/rxdrugs/upload/3057-08.pdf. Accessed August 3, 2010.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Office of Applied Studies. National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 2008.
  3. Safeguard My Meds National Survey.
  4. University of Michigan. Monitoring the Future, 2009. Available at http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/data/07data/pr07t13.pdf. Accessed August 3, 2010.
  5. National Council on Patient Information and Education, Talk About Rx. Available at http://www.talkaboutrx.org/maximizing_role.jsp. Accessed August 3, 2010.