Thursday, April 26, 2012

National Take Back Medicine Day

Many Americans have unused and unneeded medications in their medicine cabinets.  These medications can be dangerous to visiting family members who take them.  For example, young children visiting grandmother may think the pills are "candy," and pop a few into their mouths; or teenage relatives may decide to steal a bottle of painkillers left over from a recent surgery and either take the pills themselves or sell them to their friends.

How NOT to Dispose of Unused Medicine

It is important that unused medications be disposed of carefully.  Some people think they are doing the right thing when they pour their unneeded medications down the drain or flush them down the toilet.  However, this method of disposal can damage our water supply.  Imagine millions of people dumping a few pills down the toilet every month.  Most methods of water filtration and purification are not designed to remove these chemicals from the water.  The impact on the environment would be enormous.  In fact, it is not usual for independent labs to find measurable amounts of birth control hormones and other medications in the water we drink.  This cannot be healthy for anyone, but particularly not for our children.

National Prescription Take-Back Day

For the past few years, the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scheduled an annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day to assist people in safely disposing of their unwanted and unused prescription drugs.  During the event in 2011, Americans turned in more than 377,086 pounds (or 188.5 tons) of unneeded medications.

The events are held at different times of year from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  There are 5,327 take-back sites located in all 50 states and the US territories.  To find a site near you, go to:

National Take Back Initiative Collection Site Search

The website will tell you the next available date.  You just need to enter your zip code or your county, city and state to find a take-back center near you.

When I entered my zip code, I discovered that I could turn my unused drugs into the police department offices and sheriff's department offices in my community.  A call to the non-emergency number for your local police department or sheriff's department would probably help you confirm the drug take-back location closest to you.

Other Ways to Dispose of Medications

If you have unwanted medications and you are unable to get them to a take-back center,  here are other things you could do.

* Break the pills up, mix them with dirt or garbage, leave them in the bottle and put them in the trash so that they go to a landfill.

* Call your local police department or city hall and ask if they have a place where you can properly dispose of medications.

*  Call your pharmacy or local hospital to see if you could drop off your unused drugs at one of their facilities.

Do not simply show up with your drugs someplace and assume that they will take them off your hands.  Not all communities have the proper facilities to dispose of medications.  If your community does not, you may want to contact your local city office and see if you can work with them to set up a place where people can properly dispose of their drugs.

Don't put your family and loved ones at risk by allowing dangerous medications to fall into the wrong hands.  Don't flush your pills down the toilet or wash them down the drain, where they could pollute our water supply.  Take back any medications you don't need, and allow the government to dispose of them properly.

If you are interested in additional information of use to Baby Boomers, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire, medical issues, financial planning, family relationships and more.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you Hilda. I am glad that you found the information in my blog helpful in writing your report.


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