More than four billion prescriptions are filled each year. Have you ever wondered what happens to all the unused prescription pills? Do they sit in the back of a medicine cabinet, collecting dust? Are they thrown in the trash or flushed down the toilet? You are probably thinking, “Does it matter?” The answer is yes! How we dispose of unwanted prescriptions has a tremendous impact on others and the environment.
Imagine that you sprain your ankle walking down the street and the doctor prescribes you a painkiller. After a couple of days, the pain subsides and you are left with a prescription bottle that is half full. So, you store it in your medicine cabinet. No harm, right? Yes, no harm, unless those pills end up in the hands of the wrong person ─ your young nephew who is just looking for something to play with, your teenage sister who is curious because she thinks prescriptions are not “real” drugs, or your fiancée who has been stressed out at work and is looking for a way to relax.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, over two million American use prescription medications nonmedically. While the problem is more prevalent among young adults, people of all ages and backgrounds are becoming addicted. Having these powerful medications so easily accessible increases a person’s risk of developing a substance abuse problem, which is why it is so important to properly dispose of any unused drugs. And no, throwing them in the trash or flushing them is not the proper way to do so. This can cause them to leak into the ecosystem and contaminate the water supply.
So, what can you do with all those medications you no longer need? You can drop them off at DEA authorized Controlled Substance Disposal Locations or use medication disposal pouches. Medication disposal pouches are easy to use and don’t require you to drive anywhere to drop off your medications. In just a few simple steps you can deactivate the drugs, prevent misuse, and protect the environment. While some states have programs that provide disposal bags to those in need, you can purchase the bags online – and they are affordable!