Proper disposal of unused medications is important for our water supplies and for our health. It’s also easy, once you do a little investigating into how drug take-back works in your area. Follow the simple guide below to make a plan that works for you:
Step 1: Make a date. Write a date in your calendar right now when you will clean out your medicine cabinet and plan for proper disposal.
Step 2: Do a little homework before your date. Before you start, think about how you’re going to dispose of what you find. There are a couple major options: drop off your drugs at a site that’s always open, or wait until a take-back day. One catch: only certain places (National Drug Take-Back Day events and law enforcement drop-off locations) are allowed to take controlled substances (drugs that have the potential for abuse or dependence). Controlled substances include things like Ritalin, OxyContin, Percocet, OxyContin, Percodan, Codeine, and hydrocodone. Be prepared to keep an eye out for these drugs. If you have them, it might make a difference for where you take things.
Step 3: Be prepared. On the big day, grab a plastic baggie, small box, or other container to hold the medicines you find.
Step 4: Get to know your medicine cabinet. Go through every medicine you have – in your cabinet, travel bags, bedside table, wherever you might have left them. Look at expiration dates. Consider what you’re no longer taking. Look for bottles with a little medicine left to treat an illness that’s long since passed. Put everything you no longer need in your container.
Step 5: Protect your privacy. For anything with a prescription label, remove your name and prescription number. Leave the name of the medicine intact.
Step 6: Recognize those special medicines. Did you find any painkillers or other controlled substances? If so, you’ll need to be sure to choose a drop-off location where they’re accepted.
Step 7: Plan for the second date. Now it’s time to decide where to go with your medications. Identify the best place and map it out now.
Take part in National Drug Take-Back day. There’s one April 26, 2014 (10 am – 2 pm). On Wednesday, March 26 locations will be posted on the DEA website. You can take controlled substances to a Take-Back Day event.
Find a permanent location in your community. Click on your state here to explore locations at drug stores or law enforcement sites (which take controlled meds). Or download an app (iPhone or Android).
Want to make a bigger impact? Bring a +1 to your take-back date!
Do you have an aging parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle who could use a hand cleaning out their medicine cabinet? Offer to help. Set a date to visit your loved one and take them through the steps above.
Do you have information on other take-back locations, like a chain store’s policy, or experience with a take-back program? Share it below in the comments.