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Is it time for Spring cleaning at your house? Here is a simple task you can do to prevent serious consequences. Open your medicine cabinet or cupboard and look for expired, unwanted, or unused prescription medications.  Now is the perfect time to dispose of them safely and easily. No, I do not mean to throw them down the toilet or put them in the trash.

The best solution for unused medications is to utilize a drug disposal kit or to drop them off at a collection site. April 24, 2021 is the Spring Drug Take Back Day.  I encourage you to locate unused medications in your home, find the collection site and drop off your unused prescription drugs.Drug Take Back Day  

Did you know that most abused prescription drugs come from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets? Expired prescription medications are a public safety issue, leading to potential accidental poisoning, misuse, and overdose. Proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment. How many times do you hear about another overdose? The statistics are startling. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has seen an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 83,544 Americans overdosing during the 12-month period ending July 1, 2020, the most ever recorded in a 12-month period.

I learned about a 22-year-old in my community who overdosed and died last week. His family buried him over the weekend. This story is all too familiar.

How can you help prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths?

Let’s explore this common scenario: you are a parent, grandparent or family member who had surgery a few months ago and in your medicine cabinet there are leftover pain killers. The surgery was months ago, and you haven’t thought about those medicines in your cabinet. You don’t need them, and they are just sitting there. BUT….. did you know that many teens get pain medication from a family member or friend? In fact, over 40% say they got the pain reliever they used most recently from a friend or relative for free.

Teen looking at meds in a medicine cabinetNow that you know the facts, work to be part of the solution!

  • Go to your cabinets and pull out the medications that you no longer need.
  • Find a safe drug take back site or utilize a drug disposal kit.
  • Properly dispose of unused medications.

Today is the day for you to take a step in the right direction and to help prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. Who will join me in this fight? Share what you did in the comments.  

Writer: Michelle Treber, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Lorrissa Dunfee, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Belmont County, dunfee.54@osu.edu

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