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Medication Storage and Safety
From Dr. Amy Tiemeier, St. Louis College of Pharmacy

What danger is there to have old medicine in your home?
Dangers include taking medication that will not be effective or having someone accidentally take it and have side effects or an overdose.

Does medicine expire?

Medication does expire. Each drug has a different length of time that it is good for. In general, prescription medication should be discarded one year after you had it filled (or sooner if noted on the bottle).

Does non-prescription medicine expire?

Over-the-counter medication (non-prescription medicine) should be discarded when it is past the expiration date that is on the packaging.

Is it dangerous to take expired medicine?

It could be not effective and delay a person getting appropriate treatment. Some medications also become toxic and can be very harmful if taken after they have expired.

Where should I store medicine? Does it matter?

It definitely matters where you store your medication. Medication is many times sensitive to light and heat. You should store your medicine in someplace that is cool and dry (generally NOT in the bathroom or kitchen). It is also important to store your medication someplace out of reach of children and pets.

What’s the best way to tell others in my family about the possible dangers of medication?

Just letting family members know how easy it is for children to get into medicines, whether they have child safety caps or not, is important. They should know that child safety caps are NOT intended to keep children from getting into the medication but rather delays them from getting into the bottle by about 10 minutes. Plus, many medications look like candy which makes it even more appealing to children to want to try.

How do I keep medicine away from children and pets? 

The best way to keep medicine out of the hands of children or pets is to keep the medicine in a location that is out of reach (high on a shelf or cabinet) or in a locked cabinet or drawer. Keeping it in a purse or briefcase is also a good option if it is stored out of reach of children and pets when at home.


Information about the Program
From Missouri Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal

Where do we take our expired and unused medications?
Take your medication to one of the eight local police department drop box locations: North County, Florissant, Affton, South County, Sunset Hills, Webster Groves, Olivette or West County. Please see the Medicine Collection Box Location map for directions and contact information.

What types of items will not be accepted?

Illegal drugs, needles/sharps, syringes with needles, thermometers, IV bags and tubing, bloody or infectious waste, personal care products, empty containers, hydrogen peroxide, and aerosol cans and inhalers will not be accepted.

What types of items will be accepted?

Prescription medications (including controlled substances), all over-the-counter medications, pet medications, vitamins and supplements, medicated ointments, lotions, creams, and oils, liquid medication in leakproof containers, homeopathic and herbal remedies, and suppositories will be accepted.

When can I drop off my medications?

Medication can be dropped off at the designated locations 24/7.

Can nursing homes and hospices drop off medication from their facilities?
No, these facilities must follow different regulations for drug disposal.

Do the pills have to be in their bottles?

No, the pills do not have to be in their original containers.

How can I make sure no one can see my personal information?
After the medication is placed in the drop box, the only people that have access to it are St. Louis County Police officers.  Use a black marker to cross out any identifying information on your pill bottles or place the pills in a plastic Ziploc bag before they go into the drop box.

Where can I find out more information about the Missouri Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal program?

Visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/missourip2d2.

Is there a phone number I can call for more information?

You can call Brad (314-996-2320) or Staci (314-996-2384) at Missouri American Water.

Does it cost me anything to drop off my expired and unused medications?
No, you may drop off your medication for free.

What happens to the medication after it is dropped off?
The medication is transported to another site where it is incinerated.

What if I can't get to a drop box location?
Family members can drop off your medications if you are unable to do it yourself.

Why should I drop off my medication at a drop box location instead of putting it in the trash or flushing it down the drain?
Using a drop box location to get rid of unwanted medications helps reduce drug abuse, reduce accidental poisoning, and protects our environment by keeping medications out of our rivers and streams.



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