Dispose of any unused medication

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 21, 2018

Misuse of prescription medications is a serious problem.

According to the Centers for Disease Control’s website, “More than 40 percent of all U.S. opioid overdose deaths in 2016 involved a prescription opioid, with more than 46 people dying every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids.”

Many prescription medications are classified as controlled substances due to their intoxicating effects, which can be dangerous and addictive. If someone takes a medication with an intoxicating effect, such as an opioid, there is the possibility of an unexpected overdose, which could lead to death.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Unfortunately, first time users of opioids at times get them from friends or family members, at times because the medication was easily accessible in the bathroom or other common area. Many people overlook the fact that their medication could cause harm, so they will leave bottles of pills or other medicines out where they can be stolen easily. This is especially a problem when people do not dispose of old or unwanted medication. If old medicine is left on a countertop or in a cabinet, it is easier to take since it will probably not be missed.

While the majority of people who overdose from prescription opioids range from 25- to 54-years-old, according to the CDC website, there is still a risk of children, teens and elderly people misusing these substances. If intoxicating medication is no longer needed, it is important to immediately remove it from the home.

Fortunately, there are several disposal methods available to those with potentially dangerous prescriptions. If possible, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends taking medications to pharmacies for disposal, or participating in authorized Drug Enforcement Administration take back events.

While it may seem like a hassle, be sure to immediately dispose of old prescriptions properly to prevent a tragedy.