Patients and Caregivers

All medications—from over-the-counter to opioids—can be dangerous in the wrong hands and carry some level of risk to patients, families, caregivers and even pets. Help reduce the risks by properly disposing of expired or unneeded drugs with DisposeRx medication disposal packets.

Any medication, including those you buy without a prescription, can cause harm if taken in the wrong way or by the wrong person.”
Centers for Disease Control

Medications and Associated Risks

Unused medications pose many different risks, including:

Accidental poisonings

Poisoning is a significant problem in the United States and is the leading cause of unintentional injury death, surpassing motor vehicle crashes. (CDC)

Drug diversion

Drug diversions can result in substandard care delivered by an impaired healthcare provider or denial of essential pain medication or therapy. (CDC)

Medication confusion

Polypharmacy is when you take several medications each day, often defined as five or more. Due to polypharmacy, the elderly are at increased risk of medication confusion.


Overdose deaths from opioids, synthetic opioids (ex. fentanyl), psychostimulants (ex. methamphetamine, and cocaine increased by over 15% in 2021 vs. 2020. (CDC)


A study of intentional drug overdose deaths or suicides by an overdose of a medication or drug found an overall decline but an increase in young people aged 15-24, older people aged 75-84 and non-Hispanic Black women. (NIH)

Who’s at risk? Everyone!

Everyone with access to medications is at risk.

A child risks accidental ingestion of a medication.


Children are the most vulnerable to accidental ingestions or poisonings, as pills and tablets can look like candy, sweet-smelling liquid medications can be flavored and brightly colored pill cases with fun designs can pique a child’s curiosity. Make sure that you safely store your medications out of the reach of children and dispose of them promptly.


Teenagers may receive their first prescriptions for opioids or other controlled substances as a result of wisdom teeth removal or orthopedic injuries, so parents and caregivers should make sure that they have control of the medications and provide them as needed. Also, teenagers are known to want to experiment with drugs, so parents, grandparents and/or caregivers should make sure that all medications are locked away in a safe place.

A teen takes opioids after a sports injury or wisdom teeth removal.

Adults are at risk of adverse medication events like substance use disorder, medication confusion, and more.


Adults—especially the elderly—can easily experience adverse drug reactions, as their bodies do not metabolize medications as well as they did when they were younger. Many older adults take many different medications—also known as polypharmacy—which can cause confusion, lightheadedness, falls and other injuries. Caregivers are encouraged to helped older adults manage their prescriptions to help mitigate risks of injuries, emergency room visits and hospitalizations.


Even pets are at risk, since they can chew pill bottles and ingest medications. Additionally, pet medications, which are often the same as human medications, are often overlooked and left out in the open where they can be consumed by young children or possibly diverted.

Be aware and be prepared

  • Don’t take medications for longer than needed.
  • Don’t share your prescription with others.
  • Don’t take someone else’s medications.
  • Don’t take more than the prescribed amounts.
  • Tell children not to play with medications or decorative pill cases.
  • Store medications in original bottles and up and away from curious children or vulnerable pets.
  • Always check the name, dosage and expiration on the label and promptly dispose of anything expired.
  • Don’t leave your medications unsecured.
  • Always replace the locking cap and return medication to storage after administration.
  • When the medication is no longer needed or if the dosage changes, the medication should be immediately disposed of using DisposeRx.

Get in Contact

Reducing the risks associated with unused medications in the home is one way of helping to keep family members and friends safe. We are proud to partner with pharmacy and healthcare leaders, as well as community organizations, to help educate about the importance of prompt and proper medication disposal.

Please contact DisposeRx, Inc., if you would like additional information about our product or education initiatives.

DisposeRx, Inc - Medication disposal logo

Enter 'Self' if you are not affiliated with a group, company, or organization.
Scroll to Top