Parents: How to talk to your child about keeping their prescription safe

Prior to coming to campus, it is important to talk with your student about several health and wellness topics to ensure they are prepared when a physical or mental health need arises. Knowing the resources on campus and in the Columbus community, and where their health insurance is accepted, can help to facilitate this conversation.

Many students on a college campus take prescriptions for several different reasons, some may come to campus with a preexisting prescription and others might start a prescription after they arrive. Regardless of the reason, it is important to practice safe storage and consumption. Below are conversation starters to help facilitate a discussion about your student’s prescription needs prior to coming to campus.

Determine who will prescribe the student their medication and which pharmacy will be used to fill it.

The student’s regular physician is typically very accommodating and willing to prescribe medications through the semester with a follow-up during break. It may be helpful, however, to have a local physician (through the university or the Columbus community) that can help the student should problems come up necessitating a change in dose or prescription. In terms of pharmacy, a student could take a dated paper prescription to the John W. Wilce Student Health Center’s pharmacy, or have your regular doctor give the Wilce Student Health pharmacy a call at 614-292-0125 to fill the necessary prescription.

Nearby pharmacies include:

John W. Wilce Student Health Center – 1875 Millikin Rd, 614-292-0125

The Ohio State Outpatient Pharmacy – 460 W. 10th Ave, 614-293-5920

CVS – 1892 N High St, 614-298-8051

CVS – 1717 Olentangy River Rd, 614-298-1078


Where will the student store their medication?

This is a big one. Stimulants like Adderall are commonly misused on college campuses but keeping the medication in a safe place can prevent situations such as theft or another student inquiring about using a prescription not prescribed to them. The best way to protect your medication is by securing it in a safe or lockbox. It is common for dorm rooms to be left unlocked for students to go down the hall to talk to a friend or shower so keeping medication in a secure location can prevent others from coming in and taking your student’s prescribed medication.

In the event that a prescription is stolen from a student’s dorm it is important to report the theft to the Residence Life staff member on duty. Upon filing a report, the RA will be able to provide documentation to the student to forward along to their physician to refill the prescription.

How will the student remember to take their medication?

When taking the precaution of hiding or locking up a prescribed drug, it can be difficult for a student to remember to take it. It may be helpful to keep a weekly pill sorter in their backpack or purse with a small amount of their medication in it, while keeping the rest locked up. Some students who do this also keep multivitamins in their pill sorter, that way if anyone asks what they are taking, they can honestly say they are taking a vitamin. Others may find it easiest to keep a set schedule by using an alarm to remind them to take the drug at the same time each day (i.e. right before they leave for class every morning).

What if they no longer need their medication?

Here at The Ohio State University, we have a drug take back box in the John W. Wilce Student Health Center pharmacy. Students can get rid of unused or expired medications in a safe and legal way through this disposal box. Medications put in the box should be in their original packaging or put in a sealed zip-lock bag. Schedule II-V drugs can be put in the box, and personal identification labels do not need to be removed (though they can be if desired).


Following this link to learn more information about OSU’s Drug Take Back Program.