You may be contributing to one of Arizona’s biggest public health problems and not even realize it. Arizona has the 6th highest rate in the country for prescription drug misuse and drug overdose death. What’s really frightening is that more than 90% of Arizona youth that misuse prescription drugs get them from family and friends. The best way for you, and all of us, to help is to properly dispose of extra medication – whether it’s unused or expired.
Saturday is a national Take Back Day sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Everyone can take leftover medications to collection sites across Arizona, no questions asked. Just click on the Got Drugs? link on www.dea.gov to find a collection site near you.
If you can’t get to a site on Saturday, there are other ways to properly dispose of unused medications. Arizona has a number of permanent drop boxes offering additional opportunities to dispose of medications. Check out the Arizona Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Initiative website for a list of drop box locations. If no drop boxes are nearby, you can mix your unused medications in a plastic bag with undesirable materials, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter, then throw it in the trash. If you throw the medication in the trash, they can be retrieved and sold – if you flush them down the toilet, they can contaminate our water supply. Let’s all do our part to reduce the access to drugs that can be a danger to our family, friends, and community.