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As parents, we worry about the proper storage of drugs and medications in our home. But how often do we think about the disposal of these medications after they are no longer needed or are expired?
As a mom of triplets plus one, I am often asked “how we manage.” I could jot down loads of parenting advice, but the past five years of having triplets have boiled down to one key element: minimizing risk when possible. There are many things in life that I cannot control. Those things are out of my hands. However, there are some risks that I can diminish by taking the appropriate steps as a parent to minimize them. Access to medications within the home is one of those risks. From the time the babies were born, all medication that we may keep in the house has been kept in a top shelf, childproof cabinet that is only accessed from my and my husband’s room. We do not “store” anything in leftover medicine bottles. Twice a year (once in the spring and once in the fall) I remove any expired or unused medications from the cabinet and dispose of them. While these precautions may take a few extra minutes at the moment, in the long run they give me peace of mind at home, allowing me to focus on the daily needs of my family and daily fun times!
I know that many people struggle with the topic of handling expired or unused medication. My husband headed to his mother’s house last year to help her organize a few things in her safe. He was surprised to see a shelf of expired and old medication! My mother-in-law had no idea how to properly dispose of the medication, leaving her to stash it all in the safe. Of course, this isn’t the course of action that many people take. I personally know several who have flushed medications down the toilet, poured them down the drain, or tossed them in the garbage. This can be damaging to our environment and water systems.
However, keeping unused medications around the house isn’t the answer either, leaving the drugs available to be used by those who were not prescribed the medication. In fact, 62% of teens who admit taking medication for non-medical reasons say they get drugs from medicine cabinets in their homes (Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health, SAMHSA). 77% of opioid prescription medications taken by new users are obtained from a friend or relative (Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). These statistics are scary to be as a mom of four. The National Center for Health Statistics states that 197 Americans die every day from a drug overdose. Discreet, safe, and responsible drug disposal is more crucial to our societies, our environment, and our families than ever!
For those who live in the United States, LifeinCheck has created a Drug Disposal Program for consumers to dispose of their expired or unused medications. Rather than having to wait for a special day in your community, drugs can be disposed of at any time at your convenience with one of the LifeinCheck Drug Disposal receptacles. Enter your city and state or zip code and the search radius in the LifeinCheck Drug Disposal receptacle finder HERE locate a list of safe drug disposal locations in your area.
Did you know? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately fifty-four million Americans over the age of 12 have used prescription medications for non-medical reasons at least once in their lifetime.
Using the LifeinCheck Drug Disposal receptacle is easy. Pull to open the drawer, place medications inside, and close the drawer to secure them.
A receptacle near you may be getting a new look, like this one below.
The LifeinCheck Drug Disposal receptacles accept unused or expired prescription medication, unused or expired over the counter medication, and pet medication. Schedule I controlled substances, illegal drugs, thermometers, inhalers, lotions/liquids, aerosol cans, needles, and hydrogen peroxide are not accepted.
Saturday, October 27th 2018 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Clean out the medicine cabinet and find a LifeinCheck Drug Disposal receptacle near you here to participate.