It’s time for spring cleaning… of your medicine cabinet that is.
Tomorrow, Saturday, April 29 is Drug Take Back Day, and we are all invited to safely dispose of our potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs, in an effort to prevent accidental poisonings and do a good turn for the environment.
This national event, now in its 13th year, is sponsored by our friends at the DEA and numerous partner organizations across the country.
The idea is to safely get rid of all unused and/or expired medication rather than throwing them into the garbage or, worse, down the toilet, which is bad for the environment. This is especially important now as the Trump administration is busily dismantling nearly all of our hard-earned environmental protections.
The Drug Take Back also aims to raise awareness about the potential risks for abuse and misuse of certain medications, especially opioids and other highly addictive pain meds that commonly end up in our medicine cabinets.
As we know, certain pharmaceutical companies have no compunction about churning out opioids and pushing them to doctors who in turn have no compunction about prescribing the hell out of them.
It is no surprise that Big Pharma has continually sandbagged reports that medical cannabis offers effective pain relief for a number of conditions. To that end, these makers and pushers of opioids have lobbyists in Washington, D.C. who keep an eye on their greedy interests.
The country’s growing opioid and related heroin epidemic has led to more than 33,000 deaths from overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s latest data from 2015. The CDC states that nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.
Dr. Judy Stone, an infectious disease specialist and contributor to Forbes, said the amount of drugs lying around people’s homes is astonishing, “as are the consequences of our overly medicated society.”
She pointed out that more than 131 million people (two-thirds of U.S. adults) use prescription meds.
The CDC states that the amount of prescription opioids consumed in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1999.
Considering that eight out of 10 new heroin users began by abusing prescription painkillers they’d gotten from family or friends, controlling access to these pills is increasingly important.
Besides overdoses among opioid users, careful drug disposal is critical in preventing unintended poisoning of children, the elderly and pets, Stone pointed out in Forbes.
According to the CDC, over 300 children in the U.S. are treated in an emergency department each day, and each day two children die, as a result of being poisoned.
So how does Drug Take Back Day work?
Find a Drug Take Back site near you by looking on the DEA’s site or by calling 1-800-882-9539.