Before and After Disaster: Managing Your Medication
After a disaster, people who use medication to manage chronic conditions and stay healthy may be at risk. This includes people on medication for serious mental illnesses or in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for substance use disorders, as well as people with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health conditions.
The following resources may help people prepare for better medication management after a disaster. They focus on medication-related disaster planning, safe medication use after disasters, and preparedness for people with specific conditions.
This SAMHSA handbook provides guidance in developing a disaster preparedness and recovery plan for programs for people with mental and/or substance use disorders. The fifth chapter discusses the importance of managing prescription medications, including monitoring people on prescription medications during a disaster and providing continuity of care for people in MAT.
This webpage from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives tips on how to prepare for a hurricane or tropical storm if you have asthma, including getting a supply of asthma medication to last for at least 3 days. It also provides resources on avoiding common asthma triggers and using asthma medication safely during and after a hurricane.
People with diabetes may encounter specific health-related issues after a disaster. In this collection, the CDC offers a range of online resources people with diabetes can use to prepare for disasters. One section of the collection is devoted to insulin, drug, and equipment advice.
In this post to the Public Health Matters blog, the CDC presents 10 tips to help you prepare your medications in case of a disaster. Some tips include starting a stockpile, keeping a record of current prescriptions, and talking with a doctor about what to do if you run out of medication in an emergency.
In this online article, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides information on how medicines may be affected by a natural disaster. In addition to guidance on drugs exposed to fire, heat, or unsafe water, the CDER links to information about storing insulin safely. The article is also available in Spanish.
This article from AARP covers steps to take before a disaster, such as gathering at least a 2-week supply of medication you take, as well as guidance for obtaining medication after a disaster. Links are provided to information for low-income people in need of prescription medication, Medicare participants, and people with cancer. A Spanish version is available.
This article in Consumer Reports describes what you should include in a medication go bag, or a bag with prescription and over-the-counter medication and other supplies that you can take with you if you need to evacuate due to a disaster. The article presents tips for storing and maintaining a medication go bag so items stay safe and effective.
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The Dialogue is a quarterly e-newsletter that provides practical and down-to-earth information for disaster behavioral health coordinators, local service providers, federal agencies, and nongovernmental organizations. You can subscribe to the newsletter or contact the SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC) by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to contribute an article to an upcoming issue.
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The views, opinions, and content expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
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