Spring clean your medicine cabinet for National Drug Take Back Day

The 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) concluded that an estimated 54 million people (more than 20 percent of those aged 12 and older) have used prescription medications for nonmedical reasons at least once in their lifetime. The 2015 NSDUH showed that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.  This is one of the reasons the DEA will hold it’s 15th Prescription Drug Take Back Day this On Saturday, April 28, from 10 am to 2 pm.

This annual event is designed to prevent medication abuse and theft by educating the public about ridding their homes of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.  Residents are encouraged to bring medication for disposal to local collection sites.  Drop-off at all participating sites is free and anonymous, no questions asked.   All medications dropped off will be properly destroyed by authorities.

The City of Auburn’s Blue Ribbon Committee for Auburn – the Healthiest City in Washington – 2020 is supportive of this event as it addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.   Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to misuse, and abuse.  Last October, Americans turned in 912,305 pounds of prescription drugs at more than 8,500 collection sites. In its 14 previous Take Back events, the DEA and its partners have taken in over 9,015,668 pounds – more than 4,508 tons – of pills.

Properly disposing of unused and expired medicine

Methods previously used, such as flushing medications down the toilet, are advised against.  According to the Washington Poison Center, “Medicines that are flushed or poured down the drain can end up polluting our waters, impacting aquatic species, and contaminating our food and water supplies.  Most medicines are not removed by wastewater treatment plants or septic systems.  Scientists have found medicines in surface, ground and marine waters as well as soils and sediments in the Pacific Northwest.”drug take back, don't flush drugs, rx, flush drugs

“Throwing medicines in the garbage is not safe,” WAPC continues, “especially for controlled substances like OxyContin, narcotics and other highly addictive and dangerous drugs.  The drugs can be found and used by others, even if they are mixed with undesirable materials like coffee grounds or kitty litter.” 

Crushing medication to get rid of it is also ill-advised as it “is difficult and dangerous and puts the handler at risk of exposure to the drug through skin contact or by breathing in the dust.  Many medications are designed to release in the body over time and crushing pills can release a dangerously high dose. The pill dust may endanger other family members and pets in the home, and some medications can be especially harmful to children and women of childbearing age.”

Available locations to take unwanted or expired prescriptions on Saturday, April 28th, are:

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Auburn Police Station340 E Main St. Suite 201Disposal box is located in the lobby. Open 24/7.

Mail back envelopes available at no cost (no needles)

Fred Meyer801 Auburn Way NMedication disposal drop box (no needles).
HealthPoint Medical Clinic126 Auburn AveMedication disposal 1st-floor blue bin (no needles).
Auburn Public Health Center901 Auburn Way N., Suite ASyringe drop box only.

 

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April, 28th Drug Take Back Day event, visit DEATakeBack.com.  To show how easy it can be for children to mistake medicine for candy, test your ability to discern the difference with this game.

 

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