Submitted by Wendy Chirieleison, MS Ed
Community Health Educator
Did you know that Saturday, October 26th is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day? The purpose of this event is to provide a safe way for people to dispose of their unused or expired prescription drugs, and to educate the general public about the potential for prescription drug abuse.
In a 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration determined that 70% of children who abuse prescription drugs admit to getting them from family or friends.
Why can’t we just throw our medications in the trash? According to AARP, participating in Take-Back Events will:
- Minimize opportunities for people seeking to use discarded medications illegally or sell them.
- Keep medications away from children and animals.
- Keep toxins and chemicals in medications from polluting our environment.
Be Sure That Your Medications Are Safe and Secure
According to the National Council on Patient Information and Education, there are things we can do to ensure our medications are stored and disposed of safely:
- Complete a medicine cabinet inventory at least every 6 months.
- Check the expiration dates on medicine bottles and dispose of anything outdated (see safe disposal tips below).
- Look for and dispose of any “leftovers,” or medications from a previous illness.
- Keep medications in a location that is safe, cool, and dry as heat and humidity can damage medication. Medications arriving by mail should not be left in a mailbox for too long.
- Lock up medications, especially controlled substances, in locked boxes or drawers.
- Keep your medications separate from those of your spouse or other family members.
- Open pill bottles over a flat surface. In the event that you drop or spill the bottle, pills will not land on the floor.
- Keep medications in the bottles they came in. Did you know the amber color protects medicine from the light?
- Never mix different medications in the same bottle.
- Keep lids on pill bottles closed tightly so a child can not open them.
- Throw away any cotton that may be in your pill bottles as the cotton absorbs moisture and can negatively effect medications.
- According to AARP, when traveling do not pack medications in a suitcase that will be put in the trunk of the car or that will be checked on a plane while flying due to heat conditions.
- Safely dispose of outdated medications by participating in Take-Back events.
- If that is not possible, crush pills or caplets if you can, and put them in cans or sealable bags. Mix medications with substances like kitty litter, coffee grounds, flour, or sawdust. Add water, mix, and seal the container.
- Be sure to remove labels and other personal information from empty pill bottles.
There is a Prescription Drug Disposal Day scheduled for Fulton and Montgomery Counties on October 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Below is a list of the disposal sites for each county:
- Johnstown City Police Department – 41 E. Main Street, Johnstown
- Gloversville City Police Department – 3 Frontage Road, Gloversville
- MontgomeryCounty Sherriff – 200 Clark Drive, Fultonville
- Canajoharie Police Department – 75 Erie Boulevard, Canajoharie
- St. Johnsville Kinney Drugs – 12 Park Place, St. Johnsville
- Fort Plain Police Department – 168 Canal Street, Fort Plain
- Amsterdam Police Department – Guy Park Avenue Ext, Amsterdam
For more information, contact HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120. You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, see our website at www.nlh.org, or visit our wellness center at 213 Harrison Street Ext. in Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.