Each year, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) hosts the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day to make it safer, easier, and more convenient for Americans to responsibly dispose of their prescription medications.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there was a 2.5 fold increase in the total fatalities from prescription drug overdoses involving medications such as opioids, barbiturates, anti-depressants, and benzodiazepines.
This year’s Take-Back Day is Saturday, September 26 from 10 AM to 2 PM. If you’re not already sold on why you should participate, we’re highlighting why it’s so important to safely dispose of prescription medications — and why you should find your nearest Collection Site this weekend.
Why Prescription Drug Disposal is So Important
For many people, throwing old prescription drugs in the trash or simply keeping them in the medicine cabinet even if they’re outdated is no big deal. While it may not seem like a pressing issue, failing to correctly dispose of prescription drugs can have serious –even fatal — consequences.
Here’s what proper prescription drug disposal can prevent:
1. Prescription Theft
Unfortunately, many drug abusers don’t get their supply from dealers: the majority of prescription drug addicts turn to their family and friends for medications. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 62% of all teens report choosing prescription medications as their drug of abuse because of easy access to these substances in their parents’ medicine cabinets. Keeping prescriptions around when they are no longer in use can be dangerous.
Tossing your medications in the trash isn’t the answer, though. Addicts, dealers, and even your teens can dig in the trash to retrieve prescriptions that aren’t properly disposed of. The only way to keep these substances off the streets or out of someone’s system is to make sure you follow protocols.
2. Accidental Ingestion by Kids or Pets
If your prescription is a narcotic used for pain relief, safe disposal — not your convenience — should be top priority. Children can be drawn to pills because they can look like candy, and they are easily swallowed. These can prove fatal to kids or pets if they are ingested. Used drugs, like fentanyl patches, can even contain trace amounts of the drug, so they must also be properly disposed of to prevent dangerous exposure to infants, pets, and adults.
3. Damage to the Environment & Water Supplies
Some medications can be flushed down the toilet. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that fentanyl patches, methadone, oxycontin, percocet, dilaudid, and a number of other prescription drugs can be flushed in the toilet or washed down the sink. It’s a good idea to print the above list and tape it to the inside of your medicine cabinet so you know what can go down the drain. This is essential because other medications can be damaging to the environment and our health if they make their way into the water supply. One US Geological Survey found that 80% of streams surveyed in 30 different states contained traces of pharmaceuticals, which could have damaging effects on the environment, on people, and on animals.
Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse With Test Smartly Labs
Proper disposal is just a part of the puzzle when it comes to preventing prescription drug abuse. In addition, Test Smartly Labs nationwide can provide prescription drug testing for friends, family, or employees that you think might be abusing medications. We also offer prescription monitoring for physicians.
For more information, contact your closest Test Smartly Labs today.