National Prescription Drug Take Back Day-September 29The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scheduled a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. This means that you can clean out your medicine cabinet with the assistance of the DEA (What is the DEA?).
To get rid of unwanted, unused prescription drugs, simply go to your nearest designated collection site on Saturday, September 29, 2012. To find out more:
- National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day inquiries can be made at 1-800-882-9539
According to the DEA Enforcement, the last DEA-led National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 28th of this year resulted in a record-breaking 276 tons of unwanted or expired medications for safe disposal at the 5,659 take-back sites that were available in all 50 states and U.S. territories.
With that kind of success, the DEA believes that many more medicine cabinets have yet to be cleaned out of unwanted and expired medicines. We hope that, for your own safety and that of your family or home visitors, you take advantage of this opportunity to safely clean out your medicine cabinet.
Resources for more information
- See No Drugs Down the Drain – a public outreach program to alert California residents about the problems associated with flushing unused, unwanted, and expired medications down the toilet or drain and to provide other safe and proper disposal choices.
- FDA – How to Dispose of Unused Medicines
- FDA – Disposal of Unused Medicines
Importance of the Drug Take Back Initiative
Most people would have trouble believing that they harbor dangerous drugs in their own homes. But if you are storing unused, leftover prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet, or even if you just don't monitor your medicine cabinet, you could run into some real problems.
Teen substance abuse is a growing problem and many teens report abusing the prescription and over the counter drugs they find right in their home medicine cabinets.
- According to Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in five teens has abused prescription pain medication, stimulants or tranquilizers.
- Teen substance abuse of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin combined doesn't even come close to the number of teens abusing prescription drugs – the stuff they get right from their parents’ medicine cabinet – according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Every day, 2,500 children between 12 and 17 years of age abuse a prescription painkiller for the first time.
- Partnership for a Drug-Free America indicates that 10 percent of teenagers have abused common cough medicines such as Coricidin, dextromethorphan, or Robitussin by drinking the entire bottle’s contents or boiling down the medicine into a powder. The powder is sometimes added to other drugs, like Marijuana.
Partnership for a Drug Free America has tips for keeping you and your home safe.
"I have expired medications. They're not dangerous, right?"
In addition to the dangers of addiction when abusing prescribed narcotics, some expired medications could lose their potency. Expired prescription drugs can break down, especially if they are not stored in a dry place or in extreme temperatures. For example, many eye drops can develop harmful bacterial contamination that could harm you if you use them past their expiration date.
Drug treatment admissions for prescription painkillers grew by greater than 300 percent in just five years (1995-2005), according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
|Safe disposal of unused medication can prevent abuse or accidental dosage.|
Many people flush medications down the toilet or throw them in the trash. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service warns that flushed drugs end up in lakes, streams and in our water supply harming fish, wildlife and their habitats. Throwing medications in the garbage is risky because either children or pets can get into them before the trash is picked up.