Prevention of Prescription Drug Overdoses

The Use Only As Directed media and education campaign is designed to prevent and reduce the misuse and abuse of prescription pain medications in Utah by providing information and strategies regarding safe use, safe storage, and safe disposal of these potentially dangerous drugs.

Safe Use

  • Never take prescription pain medication that is not prescribed to you.
  • Never take your prescription pain medications more often or in higher doses than prescribed.
  • Never drink alcoholic beverages while taking prescription pain medications.
  • Never share your prescription pain medications with anyone.
  • Taking prescription pain medications with other depressants such as sleep aids, anti-anxiety medications, or cold medicines can be dangerous.
  • Properly dispose of all unused and expired prescription pain medications.
  • Tell your healthcare provider about ALL medicines and supplements you take.

Safe Storage

  • Store prescription pain medications out of reach of kids, family, and guests.
  • Know where your prescription pain medications are at all times.
  • Keep prescription pain pills in the original bottle with the label attached, and with the child-resistant cap secured.
  • Keep track of how many prescription pain pills are in your bottle so you are immediately aware if any are missing.
  • Dispose of all unused and expired prescriptions pain medications properly. 

Safe Disposal

  • In Utah, find a permanent collection site or take-back event to dispose of your medications.  There are currently 58 permanent collection bins in 15 Utah counties. Find one near you!
  • Do not flush, do not pour!
    • Drugs that are disposed of by flushing or draining can enter the environment because sewage treatment plants and septic systems are not designed to remove them.  Some drugs may harm aquatic life.
  • Take prescription drugs out of original containers to ensure that medications do not fall into the wrong hands – orange pill bottles are easily recognizable and therefore an easy target for theft.
  • Crush and mix all unused drugs with an undesirable substance such at used (wet) coffee grounds, moist unused cat little, spoiled food, flour mixed with a large amount of salt and water to make a paste, or another undesirable substance and put it in a plastic bag and seal it.  Wrap the bag in duct tape or put into another container.  If the medication is a solid, add water to dissolve it and make sure it is mixed thoroughly.
  • Throw container in the trash can on the same day the trash is collected.  This extra safety measure can help prevent accidental overdose by children and pets.
  • Conceal, remove, and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription label) from all medication containers before recycling them or throwing them away.