April 21, 2021
It’s Spring! Time to Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet

Have you ever kept leftover prescription pills in the medicine cabinet just in case you need them in the future? If so, you’re not alone. More than 60% of Americans admit to keeping leftover opioid painkillers at home, and 20% say they’ve shared their pills with another person. 

While it may seem harmless, there are plenty of good reasons why you should take the time to get rid of your unused medicines. And fortunately, there are plenty of ways to safely dispose of them too. 

Twice a year, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) hosts National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, providing a safe and convenient way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs. Last year’s Drug Take Back Day brought in a whopping 985,392 pounds of medication  the largest amount ever collected in the program’s history. 

Proper disposal is critical to protecting loved ones. More than 50% of those who have misused prescription opioids in the past year got their pills from a friend or relative, either with or without their family member’s knowledge. And medication is the leading cause of poisoning in kids, with a child dying every 12 days from an accidental overdose. Still, only 2 in 10 people who have dangerous medications, such as opioids, actually lock them up 

Safely disposing of leftover medicine isn’t just important to protecting loved ones, it’s critical to protecting the environment too. Tossing pills in the trash or flushing them down the toilet may seem like the easy option, but it can have harmful effects on our environment and especially on our waterways 

This year’s Drug Take Back Day will happen on April 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with several Ohio communities participating in the collection event. Click here to locate a collection site near you. All sites will accept dry prescription pills with no questions asked. If you have other items such as liquid medicines, inhalers, needles, creams or patches, be sure to call first to verify they will be accepted. 

If you can’t make it to Drug Take Back Day, there are several permanent drug drop-off locations around the state. For a list of central Ohio locations, click here. 

Another option is to utilize a safe drug disposal bag, such as the Deterra drug deactivation kit. Deterra bags provide an environmentally safe way to get rid of unused medicines. They’re easy to use too in three easy steps: 

  1. Place medication in pouch. 
  2. Fill halfway with water. 
  3. Seal, shake and dispose in trash. 

Please contact the Alliance if you’d like to receive a free Deterra bag.  

We all have a role to play in preventing opioid misuse, so be sure to do your part this year by safely securing or disposing of your prescription opioids. And if you participate in this year’s Drug Take Back Day, be sure to let us know by taking a picture at your drug drop-off location and tagging us @ohioopioideducationalliance. 

en English