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The Importance Of Disposing Of Opioid Medications Properly

One of the contributing factors to the easy accessibility of opioids falls within the realm of the proper disposal of your medicines. 

While you may not think holding on to a bottle of expired medication is a big deal, if there's a teen or perhaps someone in your home with a history of opioid mis-use, it can be a huge mistake and one that could be fatal.

Here are some steps the FDA suggests you can take to dispose of your medication:

  •  Give your medications to a dedicated collector. In a lot of areas, there is a national representative for a "Take Back" day. They accept unused or expired medications and will dispose of them properly. To find out when these dates are and locations, you can click here.
  • Rather than waiting for a national date, you can also check this registry to see what locations, like pharmacies, will take your expired or un-necessary meds by putting in your zip code here.
  • If that is not an available resource to use, then the FDA suggests grinding up the medication and mixing it in something like dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds to make it unattainable, and then put it in a plastic bag in your trash. They also suggest if you're going to throw away the bottles, to scratch out any personal information and the name of the prescription before tossing it.
  • If all else fails, flush the prescriptions down the toilet to avoid exposure to people or pets who shouldn't be near the medications.

While disposing of any medications, some of the things to keep in mind, especially if you have children around these medications, whether they are 8 or 18, have a discussion with them to make sure that taking these medications is not on their mind and let them know that ingesting said drugs could be fatal.

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids suggests when you are taking your medications to monitor how many pills or how much you have and encourage other family members or friends that are around children to do the same. And once the medications are no longer needed, to follow the steps above.

It could save someone's life.