Medication Safety

Project Community has been supporting community health for 35 years. In our new “Knowledge to Navigate” series, we address challenges our communities are facing, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the third article of our series, Medication Safety, we are sharing our health care expertise and guidance to support the healthy use of medications.

Incorrect medication use costs $3.5 billion dollars a year to treat (CDC). Such accidents are preventable and increase the cost of health care for everyone. Insurance premiums and cost of care go up for everyone, not just the person who took the medication incorrectly.

Serious harm may be the result of medication errors from both prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Incorrect medication use is the cause of approximately 1.3 million emergency department visits every year, with 350,000 of those visits resulting in hospitalization for further treatment. Older adults, 65 and older, visit emergency departments 450,000 times per year, over two times as often as younger people. Children make up about 200,000 of the annual visits, with 50,000 of them under the age of five (CDC).

Medication safety is of utmost importance. In order to protect yourselves, and those you care for, it is important to read the labels before taking medications. Check to see that you have the right medication, the right dose, and are taking it at the right time. Also, make sure you are taking it by the correct route (for example topically or by mouth). Lastly, make sure it hasn’t expired.

Our “Knowledge to Navigate Medication Safety Chart” is a valuable guide to learning about medication safety. It was developed by Anne Frost, PhD, RN, consultation by Bridget Messina, MS, RN and Elaine Pottenger, MS, RN. Technical advisement was provided by Julianne Annunziata Peters. Dr. Frost has a varied career in medical, surgical, and psychiatric care.

She is a founder, and President of Project Community, Inc.

To learn more about Project Community and their programs, please visit

Click here to download a PDF of the full article including a printable version of the useful chart featured below.