Medicines play a critical role in maintaining our health and alleviating symptoms of illness, but what should you do with expired, unused or unwanted medicines? National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is one of the ways you can dispose of medicines that are no longer wanted, needed, or have expired.
The U. S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), in conjunction with local law enforcement, sponsors national Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The national day’s purpose is two-fold: to provide a safe way to dispose of expired, unwanted or unused drugs and to educate the public about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
Proper disposal of prescription drugs is important to prevent accidental exposure, accidental ingestion, or intentional misuse by anyone other than the person for whom the medicine was prescribed. With the opioid epidemic now officially recognized as a national health crisis, and prescription drug abuse on the rise, it’s critical to remove all discarded prescription drugs from your home. And if young children or pets are in your home, it’s even more important to properly dispose of prescription medicines as soon as possible.
For more information on collection sites in your area this Saturday, and for a list of authorized drug collectors throughout the year, call 1-800-882-9539 or click on this link: https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/
Consumers were once advised to flush their expired or unused medications; however, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) no longer recommends this. Sewage treatment plants may not be able to clean all medicines out of the water. This may harm fish and wildlife and could let trace amounts into our water system.
That being said, there is an FDA-approved list of flushable medications if disposal through a drug take-back day, or through an authorized drug collector, is not available. The FDA found these drugs presented “negligible human health risk through ingestion of water and fish.”
The FDA recommends these drugs be flushed to keep people and pets safe if the harm caused by unintentional exposure or ingestion, or intentional misuse, poses a greater risk than flushing. You can find the list of FDA-approved flushable medicines here: https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/EnsuringSafeUseofMedicine/SafeDisposalofMedicines/ucm576167.htm