doubt, think before tossing it out . . . Take your unused or expired
prescription drugs to DEA National
Prescription Drug Take Back Day – Saturday, Oct. 26.
By Amy Reif
Many of us have a stash of unused or expired prescription drugs at home and don’t know quite what to do with them. If you’ve heard that you shouldn’t flush them down the toilet, because it harms the environment and could leach into our waterways, that is correct. And well, dumping bottles of painkillers in the trash isn’t a good idea either. So what can you do to safely dispose of your unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs?
The easiest way to dispose of your unwanted or expired prescription drugs is to take them to one of 11 locations throughout Fairfax County on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. during U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The Police Departments in Vienna, Falls Church, Herndon and Fairfax City will all have drop-off boxes, as well as the Fairfax County Police Department’s Mason, Sully and Franconia district stations. Additional Fairfax County collection sites can be found at www.DEA.gov or you can call 1-800-882-9539.
If you can’t make it to Prescription Drug Take Back Day, there are simple steps you can take to regularly dispose of your prescription medicines at home.
- Remove personal information from the medication container (sometimes you have to scratch it out) and discard it.
- Dilute the medication in a sealed container or sealable bag with cat box litter or used coffee grounds. Dishwashing liquid can also be used, if necessary.
- Throw away the sealed container or sealed bag in a trashcan. DO NOT RECYCLE.
Many pharmacies also sell postage-paid medication disposal envelopes.
Proper disposal of prescription drugs is an important public health and safety issue. It helps to prevent potential drug abuse, accidental poisoning and overdosing in addition to protecting the environment.
At home, prescription medicines should always be kept in a secure location. You should monitor medication usage by family members. Never allow sharing of medications and be a good role model. Talk to your children, teens, and other family members about the risks of accidental prescription drug overdose and abuse.
Amy Reif is the health sector coordinator of the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County.
The Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County is a nonprofit organization with more than 50 community partners working together to keep youth and young adults safe and drug-free. Visit www.unifiedpreventioncoalition.org and www.facebook.com/unifiedpreventioncoalition. Follow the group on Twitter at www.twitter.com/keepyouthsafe.