4 Seniors: How to safely dispose of unused medicine
Drugs that get in the wrong hands are one problem, but there is also growing concern about medications contaminating water supplies when they’re simply flushed down the toilet.
Medicines play an important role in treating many conditions and diseases, but when they are no longer needed it’s important to dispose of them properly to avoid harm to others.
The safest and most responsible way to dispose of unwanted, unused or expired, medications is to take it to a medicine take-back event. And the next prime opportunity to do this is on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, which is on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
National Take-Back Day is a free, anonymous program that will have around 6,000 designated sites nationwide – including many fire and police stations, and community centers – where you can drop off your unwanted medications.
Developed by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, this program was created to help address the ongoing problem of prescription drug abuse, as well as improper use of medications and accidental poisonings.
In the three years of semiannual collections, more than 1,400 tons of prescription meds have been collected and incinerated.
To find a collection site near you, visit dea.gov or call 800-882-9539.
The reasons take-back sites are a better option than tossing the medications yourself are because throwing drugs in the trash gives kids, grandkids and pets the opportunity to get at them, and a wastebasket is a likely place for family drug abusers to check after they’ve looked in the medicine cabinet. And flushing them down the toilet – unless instructed – is generally a bad idea because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to minimize drug residues in the public water supply.