Get Rid of Old, Unused Drugs

As it says in my “About” page, I do drugs and get paid for it.  Drug safety that is.  As a general rule, I don’t write about it though.  Today is an exception.  Consider this a public service announcement.

In 2008, I had some minor surgery where I was given 60 — SIXTY — Oxycontin tablets for pain.  I didn’t need very many at all because I am tough.  Also because I don’t need to add drug addiction to the list of problems with this ‘temple’ of mine.  Plus I really don’t like that out of control feeling I get from serious painkillers.

Still, I ended up with about 55 highly addictive painkillers in a home where my the-15 year old son lived.  Jacob is a good kid, but hell, why tempt fate?  Ultimately, I managed to get rid of them safely and securely.  But not everybody is so lucky.  In some places, prescription drugs are what thieves look for when they burglarize homes.

As I said, while I don’t normally mix work with the blogging (except when I’m goofing off), I think this is something everybody should know about:

Ditch your unused drugs Saturday, April 30.

Tomorrow (April 30) is Drug Take-Back Day, the annual nationwide push to stop people from trashing or flushing their unused medications. The DEA has set up hundreds of drop-off centers all across the country to orchestrate safe disposal of drugs. That’s no small feat — in the past decade, the DEA says it has collected more than 5.5 million pounds of unused pills. It’s a continual concern, since drugs at home can cause accidental poisonings, and drugs in landfills can pollute water supplies. [From my Daily STAT Morning Rounds newsletter]

To find a location near you (sorry, it’s US only) click on this link and enter your zip code.

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This song has nothing to do with drug disposal, but it’s a great song.

52 Comments

Filed under Advice from an Expert Patient, All The News You Need, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Drug Disposal, Drugs, Good Deed Doers, Health, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, Illness, Just Do It and I'll Shut Up!, Not stealing, Taking Care of Each Other

52 responses to “Get Rid of Old, Unused Drugs

  1. What an idiotic way to prescribe a highly addictive (and I’m going to guess expensive) drug.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What I learned from growing up in the Bay Area in the 60’s and 70’s: if you have left over drugs… you are doing it wrong… ***this was a joke… kids, don’t do drugs… trust me on this***

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I applaud you for your public service announcement. I’ve often wished our doctors would dispense a trial run before a full 30 day supply [if a drug will be in your system and working in a short time] instead of dispensing the full amoount. It seems we turn in enough drugs to run a small pharmacy each time there’s a turn-in offered.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Good advice. Here in Switzerland, we can take out-of-date medicines to any pharmacy, and they will dispose of them; the same for electronics – any store selling such products must take your old equipment and dispose of it for you, no questions asked; it keeps people from just dumping them somewhere, and helps to protect the environment.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Thank you! It’s not something we often think of, but should.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Paul

    Great public service announcement Elyse. Thank you.

    Like

    • Sure — What do you guys do up there?

      Like

      • Paul

        Good question. I know all pharmacies will take back any medications but I’m not sure where they go from there. They are not trashed because as you said, they get into ground water. We are already having problems with certain drugs appearing in drinking water – drugs like anti-depressants. The abuse of drugs is becoming a bigger problem every day.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m going to head off with mine shortly — I will ask. Of course, I don’t have any interesting drugs to turn in — there may be some fish with very low cholesterol!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. We have a shelf in a rarely used bathroom dedicated to old medications. Keeping it in a place that isn’t frequented keeps it out of sight/out of mind, yet keeps it all in one place for the roundups. In our area, it usually occurs at least twice a year, spring and fall. We’ve got a bag already to drop off tomorrow.

    It’s good that you post this information: I think it is an important issue. Actually, what would be really nice is if pharmacies did take-backs. Until recently, my mom was getting her medication at the military pharmacy (we do Express Scripts now – so much easier). About a year ago, just before we stopped using the base pharmacy, they installed a drop box – it was almost like a mailbox, locked, and you could drop off old/unused medications there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a smart way to do it, keeping them isolated. I had to hunt around for ours — but there aren’t too many so it wasn’t a big deal.

      Pharmacies should all take them back and dispose of them because it is in everybody’s best interest that they do. My pharmacy sells special envelopes (for $5) that you can fill with meds and send off (I don’t know where). But this should be something to encourage, not to charge for.

      Like

  8. Note to self: forget about burglarizing homes, too dangerous. Open a drug drop-off center instead.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for posting this, med disposal was a big problem for my patients back in my nursing days. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This an acknowledged and appreciated PSA. I do this EVERY time I visit my mother and her medicine cabinet. She has this ‘thing’ about keeping everything and I understand from where this comes. But expired food and drugs are, indeed, dangerous. Still, I’m all for the ‘five second rule.’ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Such great advice, Elyse. They are way too liberal with those Rx quantities. And every day, lives are lost. So tragic. On a lighter note, I posted today about ingesting St. Joseph’s baby aspirin, back in the innocent 1950’s. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Very important information, Elyse. Thank you for passing it on. Off to spread the word on Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Reblogged this on Chasing Unicorns and commented:
    Tired of the avalanche, whenever you open your medicine cabinet? Here’s a public service announcement from one of my blogging buddies, Elyse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Tippy. I thought I’d already thanked you though. Something odd is happening in my comments section. I think it must be on drugs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You did already thank me. I then gave you a smiley face. Which is odd for me. I usually don’t like to use emoticons. But I’m on drugs. On my way to the pharmacy to surrender all my old anxiolytics, I mistook them for a bag of candy and began idly sampling them. Anyway, I feel very sleepy and it’s time for a nap. But your welco . . . zzzzz . . .

        Liked by 1 person

  14. So what the heck do they do with all those drugs after we surrender them, to render them safe? I’ll bet they’re dumping them in the ocean. One of these days, giant morphed sea monsters will invade our coastal cities and wreak havoc.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. When the insurance company decided I needed to experiment with migraine meds, I got several different things that DON’T WORK. ugh. Those are good candidates, esp the tylenol with codeine. Thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I HATE tylenol with codeine. It puts my body to sleep — I can’t move — but my mind stays active. I always imagine a fire.

      Like

      • how awful. Fortunately that one was prescribed as a last resort, and I didn’t need to resort to it. And fortunately my ins company finally agreed I’d tried enough things that DON’T WORK that they relented and approved the one that does. (emoticon with me blowing raspberries at those who determine what health care we can afford and what we can’t…)

        Liked by 2 people

  16. It’s a good idea, and a shame they don’t have something like it here. We keep a supply of OTC medication and always check the dates as we don’t take anything unless it’s absolutely necessary. Hubby is on permanent medication though and again is vigilant in their expiry.
    When clearing out his mother’s cupboard, he found not only packets, but bottles of precribed medication dating back almost 8 years. Disposal was conflicting. We were advised to take it to our GP surgery who said take it to a pharmacy who said take it to our GP.
    When told they had sent us to them, the pharmaist begrudgingly accepted them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a problem. And the drugs are getting into the water supply. My pharmacy sells envelopes you can ship off (for $5) but this is better.

      I’m sure I have some old stuff around the house. It’ll be good to get rid of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. You’re not on Twitter? Was going to tweet this! Thanks for posting – it’s a real problem right now – especially fentanyl-laced heroin.

    Like

  18. Just saw this today at our local mall. Somehow I am always prescribed way more pills than I need. Seems like the cost is the same whether I get 5 or 50. Thanks for the psa!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. In my area, they have done a really good job of promoting the location and made it as easy as possible for people, even allowing a “drive-through” version at one of the collection centers. I’m all for anything that keeps chemicals of any kind out of our water supply. Bonus that it eliminates the possibility of accidental ingestion by kids or pets. It’s kind of surprising how easily old prescriptions pile up in the average home. Disposal is a good way to clear out the clutter, and do it in a responsible way. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • The stuff is just too dangerous! And there is also the possibility of taking the wrong medication when you grab the wrong bottle. This sort of thing really should be available at every pharmacy, not just once a year.

      Liked by 1 person

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