Now is the perfect time to take stock of your medicine cabinet since Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will team up with local law enforcement around the country to give Americans a safe place to dispose of their unused, unwanted and outdated prescription medications at collection sites nationwide on Saturday, Sept. 25, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. local time. Collection sites can be found by visiting the DEA Diversion Control website, and will be continually added as the National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative date draws nearer.
Which items can you take to a specified collection site?
Does your medicine cabinet contain outdated or unwanted over-the-counter medicine or prescription drugs that you don’t know how to dispose of properly? Flushing them down a toilet is not always advised, and if you have been prescribed a controlled substance, you don’t just want to throw it in the trash in case it falls into the wrong hands.
Collection sites will anonymously, and at no cost to you, accept both prescription and over-the-counter products that are solid in nature (tablets or capsules) with no questions asked. However, they will not be accepting any intravenous solutions, injectables or needles, nor will they be taking back illegal substances such as marijuana or meth as part of the Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative. This initiative is specifically for prescription and over-the-counter medications only.
DEA hopes to increase awareness of prescription drug abuse
According to a Department of Justice press release, prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in the United States, and holding a National Prescription Drug Take Back day will draw attention to the mounting problem while giving those with a medicine cabinet full of old drugs an environmentally safe and anonymous way to dispose of them.
The release further goes on to say that, “Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.”
When you think about drug use, you think about drug dealers who are selling their illegal wares on street corners or back alleys. You don’t necessarily think that they’re coming from someone else’s medicine cabinet. Allowing old or expired medications to languish in your medicine cabinet can make for easy access for those who might abuse them.
Parents should dispose of old medicines for safety reasons
Parents may not even notice their teens or other family members filching pills out of outdated prescription bottles because the medication isn’t currently being used. Younger children may be at risk for accidental ingestion if a large amount of medicines are kept in a home. Reduce the risk by reducing your medicine cabinet to only current, unexpired medications, over-the-counter or otherwise.
To find a collection site near you, please visit the DEA Drug Diversion Control website.
Department of Justice, Office of Diversion Control website
Department of Justice Press Release, dated 8/19/2010, retrieved 9/23/2010