The FDA is bringing attention to an event called National Drug Take Back Day on April 30, 2016. This is a day to take unused prescription medications to a disposal site to safely get rid of them. This event has removed more than 5,000,000 pounds of unwanted, unused, or expired drugs from circulation.
Any medications that are no longer being used pose unnecessary dangers to others. In the last twenty years, FDA has received more than 30 reports of accidental exposure to the pain medication in fentanyl patches. Most of those poisoned were children under two years old. Twelve of those people sickened were hospitalized, and twelve died.
This program also helps stop drugs from entering the environment, either through solid waste disposal or from flushing unused medicines. The EPA is concerned about this issue, since there are human health and ecological risks from medicines in the water.
The program can help prevent misuse of medications. Many people who abuse opiods get their first dose by using meds that are prescribed to others. The growing epidemic of abuse, misuse, dependence, and overdose of opiods in the U.S. is serious and can be deadly.
This is the eleventh year this program has been in effect. Just gather up all unused and expired medications and take them to a disposal site. Most sites are open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The services is free and completely anonymous; no questions are asked. You can just drop off what you want to get rid of, safely, with no worry that someone else may be injured.
To find an authorized collector or drop spot in your community, call your local police department or your local fire department. You can also visit the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) web site for more information. You enter your zip code or the county and state you live in and collection sites will be displayed.
And remember that you can drop off unused and expired prescription medications and drugs year round. FDA has more information at its page Disposal of Unused Medicine, including information about how to dispose of medications safely in the household trash.