The Partnership at drugfree.org: Almost 200 Tons of Prescription Medications Collected
Sarah-Jayne Gratton , Editor | Apr 30, 2013
Title: Editor
Topic category: Greener Living Stories
Green Homestead

Many Americans simply do not know how to properly dispose of their unused or expired medicine, often flushing it down the toilet or throwing it away. These methods can pose both safety and environmental hazards.

An estimated 188.5 tons of unwanted or expired prescription medications were collected around the country on the third National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on October 29, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced.

The DEA has collected almost 500 tons of medications since it began the program 13 months ago, according to the Associated Press. More than 5,000 drug collection sites were set up around the country for the latest event.

“The amount of prescription drugs turned in by the American public during the past three Take-Back Day events speaks volumes about the need to develop a convenient way to rid homes of unwanted or expired prescription drugs,” DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said in a news release.

According to the DEA, studies have found the majority of teens who abuse prescription drugs get them from family and friends for free, including from household medicine cabinets. “Many Americans simply do not know how to properly dispose of their unused or expired medicine, often flushing it down the toilet or throwing it away. These methods can pose both safety and environmental hazards,” the news release noted.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report that found the number of Americans who died from overdoses of prescription painkillers more than tripled in the past decade. More people now die from painkillers than from heroin and cocaine combined.

An estimated 14,800 people died in the United States from painkiller overdoses in 2008, a more than threefold jump from the 4,000 deaths recorded in 1999, the CDC said. Prescription and illegal drugs caused 36,450 deaths in 2008, compared with 39,973 deaths from motor vehicle crashes.

Join Together Staff |Nov 7, 2011
Tags: Recycle, Drugs
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The Partnership at drugfree.org, disposal of unused or unwanted medicines.
Chelsea's story, watch the video.

Chelsea became addicted to prescription medicine, which lead her to living in a car and stealing jewelry for money to support her addiction. Today, Chelsea is grateful that her mother's tough love helped turn her life around.

I was addicted to pills and I was living in a car.
Dispose of Unused Medicine

1. Find a take-back location near you

Check out the American Medicine Chest Challenge, which has established a national directory of permanent prescription collection sites in 50 states across the country. Find the center nearest you and dispose of your medicines today. See below.

2. At-Home Prescription Medication Disposal:

If you are unable to attend a drug take-back day or cannot get to a permanent prescription collection site, you can still dispose of your medicines. Because it is bad for our environment (the ground, water and air) to flush medicine down the toilet, try mixing unwanted prescription medicines with coffee grounds or kitty litter. This makes pills less appealing and less recognizable to anyone who can see your trash – including your kids. For more information on at-home disposal, check out this FDA guide.

Find a take-back location near you!
The Partnership at Drugfree.org.

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Your gift will make an immediate difference in the lives of thousands of children and families. Whether parents need help talking to their kids about the risks of drugs and alcohol, or finding effective treatment and supporting the recovery of children with substance abuse problems, The Partnership at Drugfree.org will be here for them, thanks to you.

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