On October 26th, law enforcement officials and community organizers held the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in thousands of cities across America. Sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the idea is to get old, unused and unwanted medications off the streets and out of medicine cabinets to be properly disposed of.
Several hundred thousand pounds of prescription drugs were collected by roughly 5,800 drop-off sites around the country. Participating law enforcement and community volunteers were present all over the United States.
Examples of smaller amounts include more than 300 pounds collected in Dover, NH and Sioux City, IA, 187 pounds in Leavenworth, KS, 80 pounds in Santa Barbara, CA and 32 pounds in Galesburg, IL.
Anohter event was held back in April that netted 371 tons of prescriptions, and overall they have gotten more than 3 million pounds off the streets in recent years. With close to 7 million people reportedly abusing prescription drugs, the more that communities can dispose of the better.
If you have medications that need to be gotten rid of at home, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the following steps to dispose of them in the household trash:
– Mix medicines (do NOT crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds;
– Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag; and
– Throw the container in your household trash.
– Before throwing out your empty pill bottle or other empty medicine packaging, remember to scratch out all information on the prescription label to make it unreadable.
According to the DEA, the response to the National Take-Back Initiative continues to grow, as more drugs are being collected at each event.