“America is going through a huge drug epidemic,” says Karen Palatella, VP CQCO at Mountainside Medical Center. “Many drug addictions and overdoses begin with prescription pills,” she continues.
Leaving leftover pills in your medicine cabinet is not safe. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. The study reported that the majority of abused prescription drugs were retrieved from friends or family, and often right from the medicine cabinets in their homes.
It is important to learn how to dispose of medications carefully, and correctly. The worst thing you can do is flush your leftover pills. They will enter the water streams and can contaminate the local water ways. You s hould never throw your medications in the trash, but if you do, the EPA suggests that you remove the medications from the original container. Mix them with other unwanted items, such as cat litter of coffee grinds, and be sure to seal the mixture in a new container or bag. Then you can throw it in the trash. Proper disposal can prevent the drugs from getting into the wrong hands.
If you have leftover medications at home, visit TakeBackDay.dea.gov
to find a Prescription Drug Take Back Site near you.