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October 27th is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day which means it’s time to clean out your medicine cabinet and dispose of unused and expired medications safely and securely. Disposal of unused medications takes many forms today, from flushing down the toilet or pouring in the drain, to throwing in the garbage, or worse. More often than not, the end result is damage to our environment, drug diversion or the drug being abused by others. To assist in reducing these issues and bringing awareness to the massive opioid crisis that is plaguing many families, LifeInCheck created a Drug Disposal program that provides consumers with a safe option to discard their unused or outdated prescription medications in secure receptacles located across the US.
Safety, environmental impact and the growing opioid crisis are the top three reasons why proper medication disposal is essential. We all have incidences where we may fill a prescription medication and either choose not to use it or have extra and it then sits in our cabinets purposelessly. I know my family is occasionally guilty of this as my two youngest daughters having ongoing medical issues, and we often end up with a surplus of extra medication in our cabinet at various times throughout the year. Fortunately, I have learned of the LifeInCheck Drug Disposal program which makes disposing of these medications super easy and convenient. The LifeInCheck Drug receptacles resemble and function like a mail dropbox. Just pull open the drawer, place medications inside, and close the drawer for discreet and safe disposal. All of the medications listed below are accepted in the receptacle.
- Unused or expired prescription medication (Including Schedule II-V controlled substances)
- Unused or expired over-the-counter medication
- Pet Medication
- NOT accepted: schedule I controlled substances, illegal drugs, thermometers, inhalers, lotions/liquids, aerosol cans, needles, hydrogen peroxide
The LifeInCheck Drug Disposal Search tool helps you to safely dispose of unused or expired medications. Simply enter your city and state or zip code and search radius and a list of safe drug disposal locations in your area will be provided. Through the search tool, I found a pharmacy nearby and dropped our unused/expired meds there during normal business hours. Head over here to find a location near you now!
#1 Personal Health/Safety
When you keep expired medications your personal health is at risk as pharmaceutical companies do not guarantee the safety of medications after their expiration date. The potency of mediations change over time and taking an expired medication will likely not have the same effectiveness. This is because all drugs have specific formulations which have a maximum shelf life for their unique ingredients. Over time the physical and chemical properties of these ingredients deteriorate and the desired effect may not be produced. Clearing your cabinets of expired medications will help to avoid the risk of taking any expired medication when you require them.
#2 Environmental Impact
The environmental impact of disposing of mediation through the trash or dumping/flushing into the water supply is significant. Flushing drugs down the toilet sends them directly into our water supply which harms our environment immensely. Because most medications are not removed by water treatment plants, this polluted water becomes our drinking water and migrates into our oceans and soil. When you dispose of medications in the trash, the drug can still find it’s way into the environment. This is because the medication may end up in a landfill, where it will more than likely mix with water and seep into the environment. Additionally, throwing medications into the trash puts young children and pets at risk for accidental poisoning.
#3 Opioid Crisis
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately fifty-four million Americans over the age of 12 have used prescription medications for non-medical reasons at least once in their lifetime. With the opioid crisis a rapidly growing problem across the US, it’s more important than ever to safely dispose of unused medications in a LifeInCheck receptacle. Keeping unused opioids in you cabinet, gives visitors to your home or even family members access to these medications which may contribute to the rising addiction rate. 77% of opioid prescription medications taken by new users are obtained from a friend or relative** and 62% of teens who admit taking medication for non-medical reasons say they get drugs from medicine cabinets in their homes*. The LifeInCheck Drug Disposal Program offers a discreet and responsible way to remove these drugs from your home.
*Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
**Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health, SAMHSA