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Do you have leftover medications in your medicine cabinet? Are you saving that medication in case you contract the same illness in the future? Well, that is NOT OK! Did you know that EVERYDAY 5,700 Americans misuse a prescription drug for the first time. Nearly 51% of those who misuse prescription pain relievers get them from family or friends.

white backgournd with yellow and red capsules and blue tablets of medications

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that between 6 and 7 million Americans , age 12 and older, have misused a prescription pain killer (such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin), sedative ( Valium, Xanax) or stimulant ( Ritalin, Adderall) in the past month.

Every year, approximately 60,000 emergency department visits and 450,000 calls to poison centers are made after kids under 6 years of age find and ingest medication accidentally. Below is a case summary from the FDA to show how some medications can result in death if they are accidentally taken by children.

  • A 2 year old boy was found lethargic by his mother with her methadone bottle open and 20 pills missing. She then put the child down for a nap and could not wake him 5 hours later. The child arrived to the emergency department (ED) in cardiac arrest, pupils were fixed and dilated.  A heart ultrasound showed no cardiac activity after 30 minutes of resuscitation, and the boy was declared dead. The cause of death: methadone toxicity.

This video demonstrates how to safely dispose of unused medications.

Please take time to check your medications and safely dispose of any medication you no longer need, you could be saving a life of a friend or family member.

Sources:

http://www.generationrx.org

https://www.fda.gov/drugs/safe-disposal-medicines/disposal-unused-medicines-what-you-should-know

Written by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County

Reviewed by: Shannon Smith, RD, LD, CDCES, Program Coordinator, Wood County

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