Senior Home Care Blog - Western Cook & Eastern DuPage Counties

Your Medicine Cabinet is a Dangerous Place

By Mary Doepke, RN

Keeping a home safe for yourself and your visitors is important. But have you considered the dangers lurking in your medicine cabinet?

The Centers for Disease Control report that about 60,000 children end up in emergency rooms each year as a result of getting into drugs not intended for them. Sometimes the exposure is the result of curious children. But teens also sometimes turn to a family member’s medicine cabinet for recreational reasons.

In fact, Grandparents.com, a website of the American Grandparents Association, states that 1 in 10 American teens has used prescription drugs to get high. Over-the-counter medications, such as cough and cold remedies, also are used by teens for purposes other than relief from the sniffles.

There are two things every parent and grandparent should do to protect themselves and their loved ones from misuse of medications:

Lock up medications and get rid of unwanted or unneeded drugs.

Lock Them Up

Sure, it’s an inconvenience, but keeping medications in a securely locked cabinet, box or safe could prevent a tragedy.

Throw Them Away

Keeping medications around “just in case” can lead to dangerous mistakes, and there’s always the risk that the drugs will land in the wrong hands. But it isn’t as easy as throwing things in the trash. Unwanted medicine must be disposed of properly in order to protect our water supply, wildlife and environment, as well as each other.

To safely dispose of pills, liquid medications, patches, creams, inhalers and other forms of medicine, visit a drop-off site near you. Just remove any personal information from the pill bottles and drop the medications into the secure RX box. In addition to most Walgreens stores, secure drop-off boxes are located in many public buildings.

Drop boxes are located at:

  • Burr Ridge Village Hall, 7660 S. County Line Road, during business hours
  • Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave. Call (708) 485-7344 for drop-off hours
  • Clarendon Hills Police Department, 448 Park Ave.
  • Countryside Police Department, 5550 S. East Ave
  • Forest Park Police Department, 517 DesPlaines Ave.
  • Hodgkins Police Department, 6015 Lenzi Ave.
  • La Grange Fire Department, 300 W. Burlington Ave.
  • La Grange Park Police Department, 447 N. Catherine Ave.
  • La Grange Police Department 304 W. Burlington Ave.
  • Maywood, 4th Municipal Court House, 1500 Maybrook Dr., Maywood. 9:30-3 Weekdays
  • Oak Park Police Department, 123 Madison St.
  • Westchester Village Hall 10300 W. Roosevelt Road