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
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
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
to The Dialogue
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
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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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products, process, service, manufacturer, or company does not constitute
its endorsement or recommendation by SAMHSA. SAMHSA is not responsible
for the contents of any "off-site" webpage referenced in this