Date of Graduation

Spring 2014


Master of Science in Nursing



Committee Chair

Rhea Felicilda


Medications are used daily in the United States. More prescriptions are being written annually and more medications are also being purchased over-the-counter each year. A great concern for storage and disposal of medications accompanies this increased access. This mixed method survey was conducted to identify how adults are storing and disposing of medications in their homes, reasons for current storage practices and barriers to change in current medication storage and disposal practices. This survey was conducted in a rural town in Southwest Missouri. It was identified through this study that the participants are storing and disposing of their medications the same way as participants of previous studies from different parts of the world. Examples of this included storing unlocked, easily accessible medication in locations such as the kitchen (42.4%) and the bathroom (18.2%). The similar practices here and abroad may be construed as unsafe. Education on safe medication storage and disposal is the responsibility of healthcare workers. In this survey, 60.6% of respondents reported never having been given any education on this subject by their healthcare provider. Participants also responded with the reason why they currently store and dispose of medications in their current manner, and the most common response was "easiest/convenience”. However, due to the limitations of the study, future research is needed to allow for policies and practice recommendations to be developed to educate clients and family members on how to increase safety of medication storage and disposal in the home.


medication, prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), storage, disposal, safe, safety, pharmaceuticals, disposal, knowledge

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© Sarah Jo Lewis

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