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Do you have unwanted or unused medications around your home? I think every household at some point probably does. Whether it’s expired OTC (over the counter) medications, or prescribed medications that are no longer needed, most of us at some point will find ourselves with medications we need to dispose of. The question is, how?
I myself was in this position a couple of years ago. I had just taken over as my Mom’s Power of Attorney, and we had to help her move out of her home and into a different level of care. As we packed up her belongings, I found myself separating bottles and bubble packs full of unused and expired medications. Her medications were automatically sent to her. Unfortunately, though, oftentimes there would be days that she would forget to take her medications, and they added up quickly.
As a nurse, I have worked around medications for a very long time. I know how important it is to store medications correctly and to properly dispose of unused medications. Luckily, for me, it was fairly easy to make sure my mom’s unused medications were properly disposed of– and I just wanted to share a couple of reasons why it’s so important, as well as a great solution for you.
Improper disposal can cause damage to the environment.
I’ve seen it. I’m sure you have too. People, not knowing what else to do, will take their unwanted medication and either pour it down the drain, flush it, or simply throw them into the garbage. It’s understandable that they are trying to at least dispose of them, but this simply is a bad idea. Think of just where all of these medications are going to end up! The first thing that I think of is potential water quality issues arising – and we do not want a danger to public health.
Improper storage and disposal can lead to diversion or abuse.
I know that this is a difficult subject for many people to talk about, but as a nurse who has spent many years working in chemical dependency as well as someone who has personal knowledge on the subject, we need to be talking about this. Even I, as a nurse prior to working at a residential treatment facility had no idea the abuse potential for some medications. Medications that you may take as prescribed for anxiety, sleep, depression, or even headaches can be abused – in addition to or in combination with pain medications.
We need to do our part in helping those in recovery by keeping all of our medications out of sight and disposing of them properly. For some individuals just seeing a loose pill on a side table, or a pill bottle on the bathroom counter within reach can be triggering. It is our responsibility to do our part to help keep everyone around us safe.
Where to properly dispose of unused or unwanted medications.
The LifeInCheck Consumer Drug Take-Back ™ is the best way to dispose of medications. They provide numerous ways to dispose of your unwanted medications. Perhaps one of the easiest ways is through convenient kiosks located near you. You can find these at stores and other locations that you already visit. I recently visited my local Safeway where they had a kiosk available for anyone to easily drop off unused medications. LifeInCheck has created an easy tool to help you locate a kiosk near you. Simply put your zip code in and it will show you all of the locations near you. For all of my Oregonian friends visit this link: medtakebackoregon.org
This year, April 23rd is our National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Will you join me by cleaning out those medicine cabinets and safely dispose of your unwanted medications? Thank you so much for helping to protect your family and community!