After holding what was thought to be the final Prescription Drug Take-Back Day event about one year ago, The Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, has announced that it is reinstating the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days program. The next Take-Back event will occur on September 26, 2015 from 10am to 2pm, and will be the tenth such event dating back to September 25, 2010. As with the previous nine Take-Back events, sites will be set up throughout communities nationwide so local residents can return their unwanted, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs for safe disposal. In the previous nine events nationwide from 2010-2014, 4,823,251 pounds, or 2,411 tons of drugs were collected.
Below are some important reasons why unwanted, unneeded, or expired prescriptions drugs should be safely disposed of:
By disposing of unwanted medications, you could be saving the lives of your children, pets, or the elderly people in your family. It’s possible that children might try to eat prescription medication because it looks like candy. Often times, pills can resemble candy like M&Ms, Skittles, or PEZ. Elderly people may take prescription medication due to being confused or because they can’t read the small print on the prescription bottle. Pets may get into prescription medication because it looks like treats. What’s concerning is that only one dose of certain medications could potentially kill a child, pet, or elderly person.
Medications that continue to sit in the medicine cabinet can be abused. Rates of prescription drug abuse are frighteningly high, as are the number of the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. What’s more is that most people abusing prescription pain relievers obtained them from a friend or relative which re-emphasizes the importance of disposing of these medications properly. Medications that remain in the home are also at risk of being stolen and sold, which is called diversion. Diverted medications will end up fueling another person’s addiction to the medication.
Leftover medications can be accidently used incorrectly. By disposing of unused medications properly, you’ll avoid health problems from accidentally taking the wrong medications, taking too much of the same medications, or taking a medication that is too old to work well. Medications in the home are a leading cause of accidental poisonings.
Prescription Drug Take-Back Events and Permanent Drop-boxes are the safest way to dispose of unused medications. Most people do not know how to correctly dispose of unused medications which can lead to potential health and safety hazards. In fact, improper flushing of medications down the toilet can end up effecting our drinking water sources.
Collection sites in every local community can be found by going clicking here. This site will be continuously updated with new take-back locations.
Theodore Pikoulas, PharmD, BCPP
Associate Director of Behavioral Health Pharmacy Programs
Community Care of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC