With the arrival of spring many households will be putting away winter clothes, cleaning out the clutter in closets, washing windows and getting ready for warm weather. Just like your refrigerator, your medicine cabinet should also be cleaned out regularly.
Old medications kept in home medicine cabinets can easily fall into the wrong hands. According to the Partnership at Drugfree.org, more than 4 in 10 teens who have misused or abused prescription drugs found them in a home medicine cabinet.
When opioid painkillers, such as Percocet, are prescribed about half of patients leave unused pills in their home. This creates easy access to opioids and contributes to the drug overdose crisis that is set to surpass motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of injury and death.
What To Do With Unused Medications
First, check the label and follow any disposal instructions on the label or information pamphlet that came with the medicine. Never flush medicines down the drain unless the label instructs you to do so.
If there are no instructions for disposal, look for programs in your community that take unused drugs for proper disposal. Some local law enforcement and health agencies sponsor medicine take-back programs. Your city or county government are a good place to check for medication disposal options and guidelines in your area.
For more information on safely disposing of prescription drugs, visit the FDA's consumer information website.