Earlier this week a physical therapist (PT) visited my mom and went through my mom’s prescription drugs with her. We found several bottles of unneeded and/or expired drugs.
We were told we could take the drugs to any local pharmacy to be safely disposed of, which made great sense because some of the prescriptions are potentially very dangerous.
Groundwater contamination (lakes, streams, wells, drinking water) by drugs is now a sad fact, and the idea of throwing drugs away in the trash or flushing them down the toilet as many people do seems like a bad idea to me.
So yesterday I went to a local pharmacy to drop off the old drugs and was cheerfully told that they don’t do that.
I don’t blame the pharmacy, but I think it’s downright silly that we don’t have a plan in place to safely and easily get rid of old drugs. Since you get them at a pharmacy, it would make sense you could drop them off there as well.
They offered to sell me a mail in package for drug disposal (you put the drugs inside and mail it to a company who takes care of it) but they won’t accept the drugs which are the biggest problems, like painkillers, so it wasn’t going to work for us.
I left, frustrated, and was told that supposedly you can take the drugs to a fire station or police station to get rid of them, but the tech wasn’t really sure which ones or how I could go about finding out.
Figuring other people were having the same problem I asked Dr. Google, and here is what is recommended by the FDA.
“If you do not use all of your prescribed or over-the-counter medication, you can take a few small steps to make a huge impact in safeguarding lives and protecting the environment by disposing of unused medicines properly:
Source – http://www.smarxtdisposal.net/
So current best advice generally seems to be to put your medications in the trash, which I find frustrating. They recommend “melting down your medication” (in water) and mixing it with something nasty to prevent kids, pets, and drug addicts from getting a hold of it.
In looking at drug take back programs there seems to be a lot of emphasis on making sure drug addicts can’t get a hold of your drugs. In fact one county started their drug take back program specifically, “to prevent and reduce juvenile substance abuse in Collier County through increased education, promotion of services and support in our community.”
The good news is that it looks like the DEA is starting to organize National Take Back Initiatives for drugs and many states are mandating similar programs, which seem to be running several days a year.
So your choices right now seem to be, hang onto your drugs and make a note on your calendar when the DEA program is coming to your town so you dispose of them, or put them in a secure plastic bag and put them in the trash.
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