Safely disposing of your unused, unwanted and expired medicines does more than just protect our environment, it protects our youth as well by keeping medications out of the wrong hands. Unused and readily accessible medicines have the potential to be misused and abused, especially by our teens.
Prescription medications are the most commonly abused substance in the U.S. More young people age 12 to 17 years old abuse prescription drugs than any illicit drug except marijuana. Studies show that a majority of these prescription drugs are obtained from home medicine cabinets. According to a recent survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services administration, 70% of people age 12 years and older who abused pain relievers in 2007-2008 report they got them from a friend or relative. And, according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America, 20% of U.S. high school students report abusing a prescription medication at least once in their lives. By properly storing and disposing of your prescription medicines you can reduce the risk of their being misused or abused by family members and others.
Here is how you can help:
- Keep prescription medicines safely stored. A locked storage area can help prevent others from accessing medicine not intended for them.
- Don’t leave medicines that are at risk for being misused and abused in plain sight or in places that are easily accessible to youth, especially pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and anti-depressants – ask your pharmacist or health-care provider if your prescription drug has abuse potential.
- And, don’t share your medicine with someone for whom it was not intended.
So, it is important to safely store your medicines while you are using them and then to safely dispose of them when you are not!
A list of locations accepting expired and usused medications free all year-round can be found on our drop-off locations page.