Forget to Take Part in DEA National Take Back Day? Other Safe Disposal Options for Rx Meds Are Available

Forget to Take Part in DEA National Take Back Day? Other Safe Disposal Options for Rx Meds Are Available

05.11.12 | By Kaelan Hollon

[caption id="attachment_2158" align="alignleft" width="147" caption="Photo credit: DEA"][/caption]

If you, like several thousand other folks last weekend, took my boss's advice and remembered to take any expired or unused medicine to your local DEA Take Back Day site, then you can stop reading now and go congratulate yourself for crossing a major item off your to-do list. In the Huffington Post this week, John Castellani wrote about safe medicine disposal and how it's related to preventing prescription drug abuse. It's an important correlation; ensuring your medicine is properly and safely disposed of can prevent it from getting into the wrong hands.

But for the rest of us, sometimes the to-do list just never seems to get done, and many people may have missed a chance last weekend to participate in DEA National Take Back Day. In fact, even though I reminded them a few times, my parents didn't have a chance to drop off some old samples they had kept but not taken, and called me Monday with urgent questions about what they should do next.

As I've mentioned before, prescription drug abuse is a problem in my hometown in Eastern Kentucky, so they were especially concerned that they dispose of things in a proper and timely manner.

The process of safely disposing of unused medicine from home is fairly easy, and while DEA's Take Back Day is an important option, it's not the only safe means of medicine disposal available. As an alternative, unwanted or expired medicines can be immediately disposed of in the household trash, and the SMARxT Disposal program offers guidance on such disposal. Here's what I sent my parents about safe medicine disposal, which is the same process the FDA, Office of National Drug Control Policy and many other drug safety organizations recommend for safe home disposal.

SMARxT Disposal recommends that all unused medicines, unless specified otherwise by the FDA, should be mixed with water and kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds, or something that makes it unappealing to eat; sealed in an opaque container safely secure from children, pets, and others; and discarded in household trash to be later incinerated or placed in a government approved solid waste landfill.

Take a few minutes and read this stuff; it's important to take your medicines safely, and just as important that you store and dispose of them safely, too.

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