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Keep drugs out of the trash and sewer
What have you been doing with your old prescriptions that you are no longer taking, or the ones that have expired sitting in your medicine cabinet? Tossed them? Flushed them?
Just let the bottles accumulate because you have no idea how to get rid of them? Well, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department are coming to the rescue on April 30, with National Prescription Drug Take-back Day, slated to run at three sites within the county where they will relieve you of your overflowing medicine cabinet and safely dispose of the contents.
According to the DEA, “prescription drugs are being misused and abused at alarming rates throughout the United States. As part of our efforts to address this problem, DEA will be collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at sites nationwide on Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time, all over the United States. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.”
The DEA goes on to state, “This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.
Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.
One of the categories of drugs they are interested in collecting are “controlled substances.” These are usually pain or anxiety medications like Percocet, Vicodin, Valium and Xanax, or cough syrup with codeine.
These are the drugs that are most sought after on the street and then abused. According to the DEA, three-fourths of these drugs come from home medicine stashes, and are now considered to be the drugs of choice for many teens because they are so easily accessible.
These takeback sites will also accept other medications, which is good. Improper disposal of any medication by flushing them down the toilet is being partially blamed for the rise in amounts of many different drugs in rivers, streams and even municipal water supplies around the country. According to a CBS news story published in February of last year, it is commonly believed that most of the drugs found in waterways are present due to human and animal excretion, but flushing medicines down the toilet adds to this problem. The Food and Drug Administration cautions against this practice.
The preferred method of disposal for any medication is to take it to one of these takeback days. If that is impossible, the drugs should be mixed with cat litter or coffee grounds, something that would make them less attractive to anyone who might find them en route to the landfill. They should then be put in a sealed container and put in the trash.
Try to get to one of these sites on Saturday, April 30, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to dispose of any unused medications.
The potential for abuse of these drugs from your home will be eliminated if you do. The following sites are open:
• East Avon Fire Department, 1615 W. Henrietta Rd
• Dansville Fire Department, 11 Franklin St.
• Geneseo Fire Department, 132 Center St.
For more information about prescription drug abuse, check out getsmartaboutdrugs.com or justthink-twice.com.
Pam Maxson is a health educator at Noyes Hospital in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles, she can be reached at email@example.com or 335-4327.