September 26, 2012 —

Earlier this year I wrote about National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, a day dedicated to safely disposing unwanted or unused prescription medications to ensure that they don’t fall into the wrong hands. This is an important initiative which provides yet another opportunity for individuals and communities to get involved in the fight against medicine abuse. This year, I interviewed a local law enforcement officer, Lt. Joseph Schillaci, to discuss how significant this day is.

Q: Why is it so important to safely dispose of prescription medicine?

A:  If prescription medicines get in the wrong hands, it can be with serious consequences. Disposing of prescription medicines is a good way to remove unused or expired medicines from the home while reducing the likelihood that someone, including your teenagers, may accidentally ingest or abuse them. However, simply throwing prescription medicines in the trash or flushing them down the toilet isn’t the right approach; medicines thrown out in the trash are easily retrieved and flushing them down the toilet contaminates the water supply. Drug Take-Back Days like the one on September 29th offers communities a safe disposal option, overseen by law enforcement to ensure that medicines are secure and properly disposed.

Q: How can people participate?

A: First, visit the official site and locate a drop-off location near you.  Next, go through your medicine cabinets, drawers, cabinets, and closets and set aside any unused, unwanted or expired medications.  This is also a good opportunity for parents to talk to your children and teenagers about the dangers of medicine abuse and the importance of using medications properly.  We must not shield our children from the effects of all drugs.  If we don’t teach them, they are certainly going to be taught by a friend or classmate.

Q: What kinds of medicines can people dispose of at National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day?

A: Generally speaking, all unused, unwanted, or expired medications except for liquids or syringes can be disposed of at National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. If you have any questions, please call 1-800-882-9539.

Q: Is it important to spread the word about safe medicine disposal?

A: The majority of teenagers that abuse prescription drugs get them from family and friends.  Ensuring that your medicine cabinets are safeguarded and free of unwanted medications is a vital step towards curbing abuse. Additionally, as responsible adults, we need to take a more proactive role in educating not only our own children, but any child about drugs of all types. We can be so worried about our own lives that we don’t realize that not getting involved with others can be just as damaging. What affects one directly, affects us all indirectly. If you ignore your neighbor’s child who is abusing drugs of any type, that child could cause serious damage to themself and the community.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day falls on September 29, 2012. To learn more, please visit the official site.