Friday, March 30, 2012

Don't Flush Prescription Drugs Down the Drain

More than seven million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet. This is a great opportunity for those who have accumulated unwanted or unused prescription drugs to safely dispose of those medications. 

Drug Take-Back Programs, which collect leftover prescription drugs, are the safest method for disposing of prescription drugs. Visit the Attorney General of Virginia's website for more information on upcoming take-back programs.

Pharmaceutical contaminants can cause serious harm to fish and wildlife living near lakes and rivers. Humans can be exposed to these chemicals when they drink water drawn from a contaminated source or eat wild game or fish. The long-term human health risks from exposure to even small amounts of these chemicals is unknown.

Home disposal has risks, but when it is done correctly, it is still a viable option.
1. Remove medication from the original container and crush the pills or add water to them to dissolve them. Then mix the medication with kitty litter or coffee grounds to make it unattractive to children or pets and unrecognizable to drug abusers who may go through your trash.
2. Place the mixture in a container with a lid or in a sealable baggie and place it in your trash.
3. When discarding original pill bottles, scratch out or remove any identification on the bottle or package.

DO NOT dispose of medications in the toilet or sink.

DO NOT give medicine to friends or family. A drug that works for you could be dangerous to someone else, and it is also potentially illegal to share medicine.

If you have teenaged children at home, keep your medications under lock and key as prescription drug abuse -- using stolen medications from home and the homes of friends for recreation -- is a leading contributor to teen drug abuse.

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