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Read on to see if your method of medication disposal is safe and other ways that you can act to put a stop to the opioid epidemic.
Medications help treat numerous ailments, but can also pose a threat to individuals, families and communities. It is important to properly dispose of unused medications to ensure everyone’s safety. Disposing of medication in a safe way is important because it prevents the abuse and overdose of drugs as well as the experimental use by youth, it prevents accidental poisoning, it protects against theft, and it protects the environment. Only use prescription medications as directed by a healthcare professional and store your medications securely so no one else can take them. Help us promote safe medication practices and encourage others to do the same!
The newly formed Ohio Opioid Education Alliance also provides some helpful resources and recently launched a new ad campaign: Don’t Live in Denial, OH.
For crisis assistance, call Netcare Access: 614.276.CARE (614.276.2273)
How do you dispose of unused prescription medication?
I don’t. I keep it in case I need it again later on.
Doctors prescribe medications to their patients based on their current medical needs. If you feel that you need opioid pain medication later on, you should go back to your doctor who will evaluate and prescribe the best medication for that situation, which may be different from what you were prescribed before. Keeping opioid pain medication around the house poses the risk for future opioid misuse and potential addictions. Try using one of the checked options below instead.
I throw it away.
Throwing away prescription medication is not safe for you, your family, or others around you. Simply throwing pills in the trash makes them easily accessible to children or pets and leaves open the possibility of drug theft. Instead, try using one of the checked options listed below.
I flush it.
Flushing opioid medications can damage the environment from the moment it hits the water supply. According to H. Dale Hall, Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, “Those drugs are present in water that supports many species of fish and other wildlife. We are concerned about reports of fish abnormalities possibly caused by improperly disposed prescription medications.” Prevent wildlife from consuming these harmful drugs and lower the risk of contamination in our food and water supply by using one of the checked options below.
I make my own medication disposal bag out of cat litter or used coffee grounds.
Although we may think that cat litter and used coffee grounds are unpalatable, someone who is severely sick with the disease of addiction will go to great lengths to get a hold of opioid medications. This method does not prevent a person suffering with addiction from getting the medication. Prevent drug theft and abuse by using one of the following options.
I save all of my medications up until the next drug take back day.
Drug take back days are a wonderful opportunity to get rid of unused medications! But why wait? Saving up your pills until a later date can be dangerous, especially if you fail to keep your medications properly secured. Between drug take back day events, get rid of your medications with one of the next two methods.
I take old medications to a drop-off site.
Great job! Taking the time to drop off old medications is helping to prevent future opioid addictions and deaths.
If you need to find a new drop off location, check out this drug disposal locator.
I use a drug disposal bag that deactivates the medication before throwing it away.
Great work! You are helping to end the opioid epidemic by properly disposing of medications in a quick and effective way. Is the concept of a Safe Medication Disposal bag new to you? These simple to use bags allow individuals to effectively deactivate drugs by inserting unused medications, adding water and shaking the bag before being able to safely throw them away. This environmentally friendly system neutralizes pills, liquids and patches.