Posts Tagged ‘Rx drug abuse’

White, round pills with a blue background

If you have ever had leftover medication that you no longer needed, did you store it in your medicine cabinet in case you get the same illness in the future and want to have it readily available? Maybe you kept the medication in case you need it again for pain?  If yes, that is NOT OKAY!

Everyday more than 4,300 Americans misuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time. Prescription drug misuse is a public health concern in the United States. Prescription drug abuse is using prescription medication in a way not intended by the prescriber. It includes taking a friends prescription painkiller for your nagging backache or someone’s anti-anxiety pills to help one become calm. The prescription drugs most abused include opioid pain killers, anti- anxiety medications, sedatives and stimulants. Every day, more than 128 people die from an opioid overdose, and this includes both prescription medications and heroin.

Where do most people who misuse prescription pain relievers get them? From their doctors, the internet, or from family and friends? If you said family and friends, you are correct. Since most individuals who misuse prescription pain relievers get them from family or friends, it is very important to dispose of leftover medications properly when you are done using them.

a white box with locks on them and it says medication disposal in writing on it.

How to dispose of medications

 Once finished with a prescription, you have three options for disposal:

  1. Safely dispose of medications by putting them in a drug drop box.
  2. Find a drug take back program. Many communities offer programs that allow the public to bring unused medications to a central location for proper disposal. Take advantage of the drug take back programs in your community.
  3. If you do not have a drop box or take back program near you, dispose of medication safely at home by following these steps: 
  • Remove pills from their original container and mix them with undesirable substances such as kitty litter, coffee grounds or dirt.
  • Place the mixture in something you can close, such as a re-sealable storage bag, empty can or another container to prevent the drug from leaking or spilling out.
  • Throw the sealed mixture into the trash.
  • Scratch out all your personal information on the empty medicine package to protect your identity and privacy. Throw the medicine container away.

Remember to do YOUR part and do not leave unused or expired drugs around. Properly dispose of medications to help combat the prescription drug misuse epidemic.





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

Reviewed by Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County

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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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