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How to safely dispose of old, expired or unused medication?

Home Resources How to safely dispose of old, expired or unused medication?

Recovery Centers of America recently polled Twitter users by asking “have you ever properly disposed of the unused or expired prescription medications in your home by taking them to a local drug collection site?” What made us 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. While some people are aware of proper disposal methods, others still tend to hold on to old prescriptions or are not aware of how to properly dispose.

Here’s what poll participants had to say:

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 is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 30th. Below are the statistics from the most recent Takeback Day in October 2021.

  • Total Law Enforcement Participation: 4,276
  • Total Collection Sites: 4,982
  • Total Weight Collected:  744,082 lbs. (372 Tons)

National Takeback Day’s official website provides a collection site locator where you can enter your state and zip code to find a drug disposal site close to your home. Click here to go directly to the website.

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