Tomorrow is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. For all of us (you know who you are) who have unused or expired medications stuffed in cabinets or drawers just taking up space, this is the day to finally get rid of them responsibly.
In a news release, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said “The free and anonymous service will be available at thousands of locations across the United States, with collection sites open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time.”
During the six previous drug take-back days, people turned in nearly 2.8 million pounds of prescription drugs, the DEA said. Last year, more than 5,800 collection sites were operated by more than 4,300 of the agency’s law enforcement partners.
“The abuse of prescription medication is one of the biggest drug problems in the United States today,” said Sheila Brocavich, an assistant clinical professor in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at St. John’s University in New York City.
Brocavich offered some tips to help prevent prescription-drug abuse:
- Keep medicines in a locked cabinet in the bedroom or linen closet. They should be labeled and in their original containers. If you use medication organizers, keep those secured too.
- Take an inventory of your medications so you know what you have and dispose of drugs you no longer need. Pain medications should be either flushed down the toilet, turned in to a take-back program or placed in medication-return mailers available at pharmacies. Controlled substances should be flushed or turned into a take-back program.
- If you throw prescription medicines in the garbage, mix them with kitty litter or coffee grounds and put them in the garbage on the day of trash pickup.
- Never tell children their medicine is like candy, and warn them not to share medicine.
Changes in children’s behavior or grades can be a sign of drug abuse. If you discover that your children have loose medication, take it to the pharmacy for identification or look it up on a drug-identification website.
When taking medication to the event, be sure to put everything into a sealed zip-type plastic baggie. And remember they won’t accept liquids, inhalers, needles or creams. To find a collection site near you for tomorrow’s take-back, check out the DEA website or call 1-800-882-9539.