Do you currently have leftover or excess prescription medication in your medicine cabinet?
Recovery Centers of America recently polled 7,372 Twitter users in the United States and asked, “Do you currently have leftover or excess prescription medication in your medicine cabinet?” The results came in at 51% of voters saying yes and 49% saying no.
Do you currently have leftover or excess prescription medications in your medicine cabinet?— Recovery Centers of America (@RecoveryCOA) May 7, 2020
What made RCA curious to know? An ordinary medicine cabinet happens to be a gateway for finding – and abusing – opioid medication such as Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin. According to the Centers for Disease Control, most people who abuse prescription opioids get them for free from a friend or relative, or take them without the person even knowing.
Here’s what some of our voters had to say:
Disposing of meds is very easy in Pa. the sheriffs office provides that service. My dad wowsa he and his brothers and sister would swap meds all the time. It was normal to them. But that was a long time ago— Paula (@pjswdscfs) May 10, 2020
Funny you should ask…part of my #QuarantineLife life today was cleaning out the medicine cabinet (not just prescriptions but it’s important to dispose of expired OTC medications too). 👍🏻— Princess (@DaysinItaly) May 9, 2020
No. We have an excellent system here in Iowa where there are numerous drop off stations. I use the one in the Johnson Ave HyVee.— Eleanor Cromwell (@EleanorCromwell) May 15, 2020
Oh yeah, Lortabs, Motrin 800s, T&C 4s, Tramadol, Darvocets, Methamphetamine Sulfate and some assorted antibiotics. They will remain in my medicine cabinet until I or a loved on need them.— Freedom Rings (@survivalstation) May 13, 2020
Thankfully, more awareness is being created around properly disposing of prescription medication sitting in medicine cabinets. Whitehouse.gov statistics said in October 2018, 4,274 law enforcement partners participated at more than 5,321 collection sites nationwide, taking in 912,305 pounds of prescription drugs—more than the weight of three Boeing 757s. These initiatives were a result of National Takeback Day, which was established in 2010 by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The need for National Takeback Day revolved around studies finding teens were abusing prescription drugs found in their parents’ medicine cabinets. Improper drug disposal also contributes to harming the environment. Recovery Centers of America along with the non-profit organization MAPDA (Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse) have supplied Deterra drug disposal bags at events throughout local communities.
National Takeback Day was scheduled to take place this past April but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Takeback Day usually takes place twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. According to the DEA, there are plans to reschedule after national emergency guidelines are lifted. Currently, Public Services Announcements created by the DEA read headlines such as “Don’t Be The Dealer” to insinuate that keeping unused prescriptions around can lead to misuse and addiction.
You don’t have to wait for another Takeback Day to be scheduled to dispose of medication. What can you do in the meantime? Click here to find a drug disposal site close to your home.