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National Prescription Drug Take Back Day: Tips for safe disposal of prescription drugs

Various organizations, including some federal agencies, are taking a plethora of initiatives to quell the opioid epidemic rattling the United States. And the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, being observed on Apr. 29, 2017, is one such move by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to combat the problem.

Looking at the enormity of the problem, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), time and again, comes up with tips and ideas to educate people on safe disposal of unused drugs so that such medicines do not fall into the wrong hands. Here are some tips that would be helpful in safe disposal of drugs and fight the scourge of addiction are:

  • As a rule, to dispose of the drugs, one should religiously follow the instructions mentioned on the prescription drug labeling accompanying the medicine. Another grave mistake committed by people is flushing unused medicines down the toilet or sink. It is a strict no-no unless categorically mentioned or instructed.
  • Programs are run periodically in localities where people can take their unused medicines for safe disposal. People should take advantage of such programs or even contact local government bodies to know more about ongoing programs in the area.
  • People can give away unused medicines to collectors authorized by the DEA, which can be retail, clinic pharmacies or hospitals and law enforcement locations. One can also unearth enough information by visiting the DEA’s website and take advantage of upcoming programs.

When no instructions are available on the drug label

There may be times when no precise information about disposing of the medicine is available on the drug labeling. In such a scenario, instead of throwing away the unused medicines in the garbage, one should adhere to a certain safety measures.

One method can be to remove the medicines from the original containers and mix them with decadent substances like used coffee grounds, kitty litter, dirt and other substances that children are averse to or not attracted to. The other method can be that before dumping in the trashcan, one should put the medicines in a sealable bag so that there is no leaking or breaking of the drugs.

Additional tips

It is desirable to peel off all identification information on the prescription label. This prevents pilferage of personal health information.

One should not recommend or hand out medicines to friends. Only doctors are qualified to prescribe medicines for specific ailments after closely scrutinizing the symptoms. If you are still skeptical, head to the pharmacist for safe disposal of leftover medicines at home.

Understanding safe disposal of opioids

This hullabaloo about safe disposal of unused drugs is not without merit. Any lapse in the safe disposal of unused drugs may further escalate the problem of prescription drug abuse in the country. Certain drugs like opioid pain relievers can be extremely harmful and at times even fatal when used in ways other than prescribed by the doctor.

Although some sections of the population raise the concern about environmental hazards due to drug disposal, the FDA brushes aside such concerns citing lack of evidence. Hence, everyone must take this National Prescription Drug Take Back Day seriously and help in curbing the proliferating prescription drug abuse in the country.

Dealing with substance addiction

It is not the cul-de-sac for an individual grappling with drug addiction. With timely treatment, effects can be significantly reversed and one can lead an addiction-free life. There are credible treatment centers for drug addiction in the country where one can go for treatment and attain sobriety. If you or a loved one is looking for treatment centers for drug addiction, call us at our 247 Recovery Helpline members 855-441-4405 for any information.

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