Prescription drug abuse is a major problem throughout the United States and the rest of the world. In fact, in the US alone, it is estimated that as many as 16 million people abuse prescription medications.
Many of the individuals that end up abusing prescription drugs were not even the ones that were prescribed them in the first place. In many cases, the abuse comes from an individual finding, buying, or being given unused medication from the person who it was initially prescribed to.
Fortunately, you have the opportunity to do your part in helping to prevent this issue by following the proper guidelines for getting rid of your unused medication. To help you with this, here is a look at a few easy ways to do so.
#1 – Follow the Disposal Guidelines Listed On the Labeling
With most prescription drugs, you will see that there are specific instructions for disposal. Since each medication is a bit different in the way that it should be handled, following these instructions is the easiest way to ensure you are disposing of it in the right way.
It should be noted that, unless otherwise specified, you should never dispose of prescription meds by flushing them down the toilet. Doing so can have a significant negative impact on the environment, as the drugs may eventually make their way into waterways and can cause behavioral changes in aquatic animals.
In some cases, the information regarding proper disposal is listed on the patient information form that you receive from the doctor. But when you lose this form or the instructions on the labeling wear off, you have no idea what to do. Fortunately, you do have other options.
#2 – Contact Your Local Law Enforcement Agency for Information About Take-Back Programs
As the problem with prescription drug abuse rises, many local governments are doing what they can to quell the issue. By contacting your local law enforcement agency, you should be able to get specific information about any potential take-back programs available in your area.
In the US, the FDA will often run their own take-back programs on certain days throughout the year. If your local law enforcement agency does not currently have a take-back program, you can encourage them to participate in the National Take-Back Initiative and host a collection site.
#3 – Find a Reliable Mail-Back Program
Another option for getting rid of unused medicine is to call on the assistance of a company that offers a mail-back program. This is an especially solid option for individuals that take prescription drugs on a regular basis, and that know that they will need to dispose of their unused medications several times.
Most mail-back programs are fairly simple to participate in. They’ll send you a disposal container and have you place your unused medication in the container. From there, you fill out some paperwork related to the medications being sent and mail the container directly to the company.
By following through with the options listed above, you can do your part in helping to solve the prescription drug abuse epidemic. Do the right thing and dispose of your unused medications the appropriate way. It may even save a life.