Take that Back!: Storage and Disposal of Unused and Expired Prescription Medication

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Take that Back!: Storage and Disposal of Unused and Expired Prescription Medication

The dangers of improperly stored or disposed prescription drugs are numerous - abuse, overdose, environmental impact and more. Learn how Americans handle and throw out their medications compared to how they should be doing so.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

-Lead by the DEA to encourage proper disposal of prescription drugs

-5,327 take-back sites in all 50 states and U.S. territories

-The past three take-back days (starting March 2011) removed and properly disposed of 995,185 pounds of medication from circulation

-377,086 pounds collected and destroyed at the last event in October 2011

Numbers divided by 100,000

The Prevalence of Improper Storage and Disposal

-1 in 3 adults have prescriptions at home they won't use

-1 in 5 have expired medications

-57% of adults dispose of their unused prescriptions improperly

47% throw them in the trash

27% flush them down the toilet (only appropriate for very specific drugs)

Just 20% take them to a pharmacy, waste disposal or National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day (NPDTBD)

-Just 6% of people keep their prescriptions in a securely locked box or cabinet

-50% keep them in the bathroom

-40% keep them in the kitchen

-21% keep them in the bedroom

-8% keep them in a purse or bag

More than 30% of accidental poisoning deaths among children involve the ingestion of prescription drugs.

36% of accidental prescription drug poisoning of children occur in grandparents' homes.

Top Ten Most Common Medicines Recommended for Disposal by Flushing:

These medications should be flushed down the sink or toilet to prevent danger to people or pets in your home. The FDA has determined that these medications are safe to dispose of in the toilet or sink.

1. Avinza

2. Demeral

3. Dilaudid

4. Dolophine Hydrochloride tablets

5. Methadone Hydrochloride

6. Morphine sulfate

7. MS Contin

8. Oxycodone Hydrochloride

9. Percocet

10. Xyrem

Guidelines for Drug Disposal:

Check the label for specific disposal instructions.

Do not flush prescription drugs down the toilet unless specifically stated on label.

Put drugs in a sealable bag to prevent medication from leaking or breaking out of the garbage bag.

Call your city or county government's household trash and recycling service to see if there is a take-back program available in your community.

Before disposing of a medication container, scratch out all identifying information on label.

If there aren't instructions or a take-back program, throw the drugs away in the trash, but first take the medication out of its original containers and mix with an undesirable substance (such as kitty litter, old coffee grounds, moldy food) to make them less appealing to children, animals and people who may go through your trash.


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