According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, prescription drugs in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. More Americans (6.8 million) currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using drugs that normally are linked with drug abuse, such as cocaine and heroin. The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed the majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, taken from home medicine cabinets.
There are a number of ways you can dispose unused and unwanted medications. One way is to mix the medications with used coffee grounds or kitty litter and put the mixture in a sealable bag, empty can or container. This makes the medications unrecognizable to those who may go through your garbage, as well as keeping it from leaking in your garbage bag. Don’t forget to scratch out personal information on the label (your name and drug name) before you throw the original container out. This ensures protection of your health information and privacy.
Another way is to take advantage of the “Take Back” programs Stearns County has implemented. Pharmaceutical drop boxes are available at the Sartell and Waite Park police departments, Stearns County Law Enforcement Center, Melrose Police Department and the Paynesville Police Department. They will accept all medications, except sharps/needles, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. As medication consumers, we can be very grateful for this additional service our county provides for us. Take advantage of it and thank them.