Twice each year, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) hosts their National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This initiative aims to provide a safe and effective way for the general public to dispose of prescription drugs, while also providing education on potential prescription drug abuse. On this day, the public is encouraged to visit local collection sites, which include fire departments and police stations, to forgo any unused or unwanted prescription medications – without question.
Each day, more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for not using prescription opioids as directed. With the raise of America’s opioid epidemic, it is clearer now more than ever that proper medication safety at home is crucial. Medication disposal is just a small step in helping to ensure prescription medications don’t get in the wrong hands.
Here’s why you should participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day:
Safety at Home
A 2008-2012 study from PATS Data showed that 17% of parents do not throw away expired medications. The study also went on to find 56% of polled teens indicate that it’s easy to get prescription drugs from their parent’s medicine cabinet and more than four in 10 teens have actually misused or abused a prescription from their parent’s medicine cabinet.
While these results are shocking, it’s important to realize that any house member or guest could have access to your prescription medications – wanted or unwanted – without proper storage or disposal.
Flushing medication down the toilet may seem like the easiest method of removal, but have you considered it’s ramifications on the environment? Research shows that chemicals used in medications can travel through treatment plants and septic systems and make their way to rivers or lakes.
While levels are low, tests have identified antibiotics, painkillers and steroid chemicals in bodies of water and local water supplies – posing a threat to marine life. While the FDA does have an approved list of medications acceptable to flush down the toilet, they recommend taking advantage of drop-off programs.
If you’re considering the removal of medications from your household, be sure to weigh your options before making a decision. Commonly, people use their household trash as the best means of medication disposal. When done properly, at home disposal methods can help rid your home of unwanted clutter and help protect your loved ones.
When at home garbage disposal is done improperly, it can allow potential abusers access to not only your medicine, but also your personal information.
Proper medication management and safety practices can help make a difference in America’s ongoing opioid battle. National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 29 from 10AM-2PM. For more information on this initiative or to locate a collection site near you, please click here.