You may not have it marked on your calendar, but tomorrow is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) event designed to provide safe and convenient ways to help people get rid of their old Rxs.
The FDA recommends getting rid of leftover drugsÃ¢â‚¬”especially hazardous onesÃ¢â‚¬”ASAP to protect other people, children, and pets from accidentally (or purposefully) ingesting them. Taking an Rx that was prescribed for someone else can be deadly, and you shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even hang onto unused prescriptions with the intention of taking them yourself later: Expired pills gradually lose their potency and could be dangerous if you take them past their prime.
While the FDA recommends flushing unused Rxs, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s actually not the best way to dispose of them, says Barbara Carreno, a spokesperson for the DEA. HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why: When drugs go down the drain, they end up in the water supply, which means trace amounts of prescriptions can make it into your glass.
Tossing extra pills in the garbage can isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t much better, says Carreno. You never know if a neighborhood dog will get into your trash, for example.
Your best bet: Gather expired, unused, and unwanted prescription and OTC drugs in an unmarked plastic bag, and drop them off at a collection facility this Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The DEA will deliver the drugs to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved incinerator, where theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be safely burned. To find the nearest collection facility, visit this site or call 1-800-882-9539.
Just donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t bring your pill containers (you can recycle them on your own), needles (find your stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s disposal policy here), or liquid drugs (the sink, toilet, or garbage can are OK for these). If you bring any of these to a collection site, they wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be accepted.
CanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make it this Saturday? You can clean out your medicine cabinet safely any timeÃ¢â‚¬”it just takes a little more effort. Combine extra pills with waste like coffee grounds, kitty litter, or dog poo (yes, dog poo) before trashing. That way people and pets will think twice about retrieving them, says Carreno.
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