☷Use DEA Drug Take Back Day to dispose of unwanted household Rx OTC drugs
U.S. Army ( By Press Release office)
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In order to reduce accidental overdose or unwanted poisoning , it is important to know the options available to responsibly and safely dispose of unused , unwanted , or expired household prescription or over - the - counter drugs . ( U . S . Army Public Health Center photo illustration by Graham Snodgrass ) ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND , Md . – Whether living on a military installation or within the local community , it is important to know the options available to responsibly and safely dispose of unused , unwanted , or expired household prescription or over - the - counter drugs . Some reasons to periodically clean out the medicine cabinet to remove unwanted prescription drugs is to prevent accidental poisoning , overdose , or abuse when used by someone to whom they were not prescribed . Another reason is to protect the environment by NOT flushing medications down the toilet or sink to keep them from eventually getting into our drinking water . “Medication safety is more than just getting the right medication to the right patient , ” said Army Maj . Emily Holcomb , pharmacist , Institute for Safe Medication Practices . “Protecting the environment and preventing the wrong medication from getting to the wrong person are also part of medication safety . Proper removal and disposal of unused and expired drugs in your household is a safe , easy , and responsible way to help reduce the risk of unintended and accidental medication related harm to our military members , families , and communities worldwide . ” The following provides a description of four options available for household drug disposal . Not all options may be available in a particular area , and some are only available on certain dates or times or should be considered only as a final option . The U . S . Army Public Health Center provides additional information on the disposal options . National Prescription Drug Take Back Day First up , and probably the best disposal option if available , is to participate in a drug take back program , such as the Drug Enforcement Agency National Prescription Drug Take Back Day , scheduled to be held on April 30 . The DEA partners with local law enforcement in communities across the country to host national take back days twice a year , usually in April and October . During these events , the public can safely and anonymously bring their unwanted prescription and OTC drugs to one of the event locations , no questions asked , to keep them out of the hands of others and to protect the environment through proper disposal . In their most recent prescription drug take back event this past October , the DEA , along with its law enforcement partners , reported removing close to 745 , 000 pounds of unneeded prescriptions from medicine cabinets across the country . Since the program’s inception in 2010 , more than 15 . 2 million pounds of medication have been removed from circulation . “This event is a safe , easy , and responsible way for people to dispose of potentially harmful , unused , and expired drugs that have been sitting around in their homes , ” said Holcomb . “Proper removal and disposal of unused and expired drugs from your home reduces the risk of people taking medications not as intended , which helps reduce the chance of medication related events and deaths that impact military members , families , and communities worldwide . Be a part of the solution by preventing potential medication errors and the potential for prescription drug abuse; take back your unused medications on 30 April . ” DEA Year - Round Authorized Collectors Drug Enforcement Agency Authorized Collectors provide year - round drop off locations to the public to dispose of their unwanted drugs . These participating locations provide a secure , designated collection receptacle ( which usually looks like a mailbox ) available to the public during normal business hours to personally deposit unwanted over - the - counter and prescription drugs . ( U . S . Army Public Health Center photo illustration by Graham Snodgrass ) . But what if it’s May , and the next DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Day won’t happen until October Fear not , there is yet another drug take back option available . DEA Authorized Collectors provide year - round drop off locations to the public to dispose of their unwanted drugs . These Authorized Collectors include commercial pharmacies already located in the community as well as the pharmacies located in military installation medical treatment facilities . The DEA has a convenient search utility on the web to help find a location near you , by either zip code or city and state . In addition , there is now a Google Maps feature being rolled out to include all states , where typing “drug drop off near me” in the search feature will show the permanent disposal locations in your community . These participating locations provide a secure , designated collection receptacle ( which usually looks like a mailbox ) available to the public during normal business hours to personally deposit unwanted OTC and prescription drugs . The collection receptacles will have instructions posted on them for what is , and is not , accepted for disposal . Lastly , if waiting for a Take Back Day is not possible and there is no DEA Authorized Collector near you , as a final option and by following some proper procedures , you can dispose of your household drugs in your regular trash or , in certain instances , flush them down your toilet or sink . Disposal in Household Garbage To avoid potential drug abuse or accidental poisoning , disposal within the household can be conducted by mixing the unwanted drugs with an unpalatable substance ( such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds ) within a sealed container ( such as a used detergent bottle ) and placed in the general trash . Flushing Down the Toilet or Sink To protect our waterways and keep unused drugs from contaminating our drinking water , flushing of medications down a toilet or sink should only be done for those drugs specifically on the Food and Drug Administration Flush List , which is used for those drugs that are sought - after for their misuse and/or abuse potential or that can result in death from one dose if inappropriately taken . Flushing unwanted drugs or pouring them down the drain should be a last - resort option because most medications are not removed by wastewater treatment plants or septic systems . Although they may end up being at very low concentrations , studies have shown these pharmaceuticals can still hurt aquatic life . There you have it , some easy and convenient ways you can dispose of unwanted household pharmaceuticals and feel good about doing it . The U . S . Army Public Health Center enhances Army readiness by identifying and assessing current and emerging health threats , developing and communicating public health solutions , and assuring the quality and effectiveness of the Army’s Public Health Enterprise .
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