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Medication Safety

The first step in ensuring that you and your family are safe from medication-related accidents or misuse is by learning about the medications and other supplements you have in your home, how to store them and how to throw them away. Below are medication safety tips, resources in case of emergency and medication services that VA provides for you.


Medication Storage Checklist

  • Find out what medications you have in your home and whether or not they are current, require a refill or are expired.
  • Make sure that you keep all medications out of the reach of children and in a secure location.Depending on the situation, it may be beneficial to use a locked box or cabinet.
  • Keep medications closed in their original containers so that you are always aware of the type of medication, expiration date, dosage, and other key information.
  • Keep a list of medication, provider contact and emergency contact information handy. To get started, you can print your full VA medication list at My HealtheVet Pharmacy or contact your nearest VA Medical Center. Visit the Poison Help website for poison emergency information or to obtain a Poison Help*† information sticker.
  • When in doubt, always ask your pharmacist about the best way to store your medications and other supplements.

Let VA Help. My HealtheVet allows Veterans to refill prescriptions, view their prescription history and print out a full VA medication list. To learn more, check out the My HealtheVet Pharmacy today.

Medication Disposal Checklist

  • Check to see if there are any special disposal instructions before throwing you medication away.
  • Remove any personal information on labels to protect your identity.
  • Mix your drugs with kitty litter, coffee grounds or another unappealing substance in a sealable bag or container.
  • Never flush your prescription drugs down the toilet!
  • Never give medications prescribed to you to others because they may be dangerous for someone else; doctors prescribe drugs based on a person's specific symptoms and medical history.
  • When in doubt about the best way to throw away unused or expired medications, always ask your pharmacist.

In Case of Emergency

  • Call 9-1-1 if the person is unconscious or has trouble breathing.
  • When accidents happen with chemicals, medicine or household items, call Poison Help*† at 1-800-222-1222. Get help right away from a local poison expert if someone may have been poisoned – even if you’re not sure.
  • Stay calm – most poisoning emergencies can be resolved quickly.

Resources

Poison Help *†: 1-800-222-1222
Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 and PRESS 1
Women Veterans Call Center: 1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636)
My HealtheVet Pharmacy
The VA Center for Medication Safety
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Medication Safety Program*†
The Food and Drug Administration, For Consumers *†
Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health*†

Safety Awareness Month Poster: Medication Safety
Dimensions: 11x17", (762 KB, PDF)
Dimensions: 8x11'', (757 KB, PDF)

Thumbnail of Safety Awareness medication Safety Poster

*By clicking on these links, you will leave the Department of Veterans Affairs Web site.
†VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked Web site.