Medication Safety

Medication safety has never been more important.

Whether attempting to prevent adverse drug events or implementing an antimicrobial stewardship program, medication safety should be top of mind for anyone working in Indiana hospitals today.

In fact, in 2014, 1,152 Hoosiers died from drug poisoning. What’s more, Indiana ranks 35th in drug deaths with 16 deaths per 100,000 people in 2016, compared to the national rate of 14 deaths per 100,000. But, if you’ve spent time in a health care facility in the U.S. in the past decade, you don’t need statistics to tell you how important medication safety has become.

Many of us take medications for a variety of reasons, from treating an infection to controlling chronic diseases like asthma or diabetes. While these medications offer a number of benefits, we have to be aware of their risks. It’s important to know what medications you’re taking and why, what the dosage is, and what the potential side effects are. You should carry a list of your medications with you at all times, including non-prescription medications, in case of an emergency and to prevent having to recall medications from memory. 

Make sure you're taking the right medications, as well. Antibiotics, for example, are used to treat bacterial infections, not viral infections, so they won’t cure the common cold or help your runny nose. In fact, taking antibiotics when you have a virus can be dangerous. Antibiotics can kill healthy bacteria and increase your risk of getting an antibiotic-resistant infection later. 

Be sure to store medications  in a safe place. This is especially important if you have young children. About 60,000 children end up in the emergency room each year because they got into an adult’s medications. It’s best to put medications up and away and out of sight, and always make sure the safety cap on the bottle is locked.

It’s also critical to dispose of your unused or expired prescription medications safely. This helps prevent accidental poisoning, drug addiction, and overdose. Too often, these drugs end up in the wrong hands. You should clear out your medi​cine cabinet regularly and turn in unused medications. ​Learn more about safe medication disposal by  visiting this safe disposal resource and this informational medication disposal flyer​. ​

What IHA is doing to help

In addition to our advocacy efforts to help combat drug abuse in Indiana, IHA strives to provide professional development opportunities and resources to our members that increase their understanding of medication safety.