By Rebecca Alexander
What do you do with leftover or expired prescriptions? It’s easy to forget about old prescriptions in the back of your medicine cabinet and just toss them in the trash. But there is a better way to dispose of your old or expired prescription medications – like “dropping them off” at designated locations.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in 2016, 6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. This study also found that many of the abused medications were obtained from family and friends. Knowing how to properly dispose of your unwanted or expired medications can help to decrease the potential for prescription drug abuse.
National Take-Back Day
Twice a year, the DEA designates a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The next one is coming up on April 27, 2019.
This Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm, you can take expired or unneeded prescriptions and medications to designated drop-off locations. At these drop-off locations, your medications will be safely disposed of and help to battle the rising issue of prescription drug abuse. Sheriff’s departments and pharmacies across many North Carolina counties, including Buncombe, Henderson and McDowell, are participating.
- Remove all identification labels from your medication containers.
- Bring your expired or unused over the counter and prescription pills and patches. At this time, any radioactive medications, needles, sharps or inhalers cannot be accepted. When in doubt, check with the collection site ahead of time to determine what items are specifically not accepted.
- Take them to a drop-off location near you.
Throwing out your old or no-longer-needed prescriptions is kind of like recycling – you need to know what can and can’t be thrown away. The next time you clean out your medicine cabinet, follow these simple steps from the DEA so that your old medicine doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. When tossing medication in the trash, be sure to:
- Remove the medication from their original containers. Mix the medication with undesirable materials – like cat litter, dirt or coffee grounds. By doing so, the medication is easily “hidden” in the trash and will appear less appealing to children and pets.
- Place your “medicine mix” into a container that can easily be closed, such as zipper bags or cans so that your medication will not spill in the trash or anywhere else.
- Throw the container into your trash.
- As for the original packaging your prescription came in – cross out any personal information on the packaging and throw the packaging away.
Drop in and drop it off on April 27
This National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, keep your loved ones safe: dispose of your medicines properly.