Medicine fall cleanup saves lives

by Maj. Julie Meek
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and 86th Medical Squadron
Photo by SIN1980 /

Imagine walking into your bathroom and finding a prescription bottle open on the floor with pills spilled out. Then looking up to see your toddler with white powder from the tablets on her hands and in her mouth. This was a reality for me a just few years ago. I had no idea how many tablets she had taken and I was horrified.

I immediately called the Poison Control Hotline and explained the situation. I wasn’t sure how many, if any, tablets my daughter might have swallowed, but the amazing hotline staff shared all the information they had for this type of medicine overdose. They told me what symptoms to watch for, when I might need to head to the emergency room and how long to watch my child closely.

I was incredibly grateful to have that resource but also ashamed that I put my child at risk. Ashamed as a parent but also as a pharmacist. It turned out to be a mild over-the-counter allergy medicine, but I knew that even mild medications can be dangerous for small children, especially in large quantities.

That very day, I gathered all of the medicines in my house and put them in a safe place. I also took out everything that was expired and what we didn’t need or use and disposed of them safely. As a parent and as a pharmacist, I ask you to do the same.

Check to be sure all medicine is out of reach from curious kids, teens testing limits and hungry pets. Properly dispose of medication that is expired, unwanted or unneeded by taking it to a military pharmacy or a Drug Take Back event held each year in April and October. You can also safely dispose of medication at home by mixing pills or liquids with something that won’t taste good, like dirt, kitty litter or used coffee grounds. Then put the mixture in a sealed plastic bag and throw it in your household trash. This will prevent drug seekers and animals from accessing dangerous medicine.

American Pharmacists Month

Know Your Medicine Know Your Pharmacy Team

The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center pharmacy has been celebrating Pharmacists Month throughout October by promoting the pharmacy profession, highlighting tools to maximize medication use and empowering patients to “educate before you medicate.”

Your pharmacist, pharmacy technician and doctor are a powerful team working to ensure the best selection and safest management of your medications. Pharmacists are available to provide answers to your medication questions.

For each prescription you receive, the pharmacy team checks your information, ensures the new medication will not interact with others and verifies that the medication and dosage are appropriate for your health condition.

The pharmacy team relies on patients to keep us informed about all medications and supplements you currently take to prevent possible medication interactions.

Here are some other things you can do to help “Know Your Medicine —Know Your Pharmacy Team”:

Schedule a “medication check-up” with a clinical pharmacist. Bring all of your prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements to this appointment so the pharmacist can examine them for expiration dates, potential drug interactions and other potential concerns. The clinical pharmacist can also make or recommend changes to prescriptions to reduce potential side effects and interactions and overall improve your quality of life.

Pick up a medication wallet card from your pharmacy and keep it handy for each doctor’s appointment. Don’t forget to include all of your nonprescription medication, herbal products, vitamins and supplements!

Help us show appreciation for our pharmacy team this month with a simple thank you.

Now is a great time to clean out your medicine cabinet, review all your medications, remove any that are expired or unneeded and bring them to a military pharmacy for disposal. The pharmacy team is always here to assist you with great information and smiling faces, ready to help partner with you in your health care.

Ultimately, you have the responsibility to manage your medications and your pharmacy team is here to help keep you safe and answer your questions.


Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Pharmacy: 06371-9464-5223 or

Poison Control 06371-86-7070 or 486-7070