Unused prescription medication is a danger to the overall health of a community and its environment. Deaths from prescription drug overdoses, and in particular, overdoses related to prescription painkillers, have climbed sharply over the past decade, and since 2003 more drug overdoses occur annually from prescription medicines than cocaine and heroin combined. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States.” Accidental poisonings from prescriptions in the home are also a concern for those with young children, seniors and/or pets living at home.
Furthermore, water treatment facilities are not designed to filter out pharmaceutical chemicals. Medicines that are flushed down the drain, eventually leach from landfills and wind up back in our drinking water. Even the smallest quantities of medicine can harm aquatic life– for example; antidepressants have been shown to upset fish generative cycles.
So, don’t keep old unused prescriptions at home, but also remember not to flush drugs or put them in the trash. Instead, safely and securely dispose of your prescription medications. The DEA has drop off events every fall and spring or find one of the growing number of secure drop boxes near you. These boxes, primarily located in Erie County Sheriff substations or public safety offices on college campuses, accept unwanted medications at all times. To find the drop-off site nearest you please click on the following link: http://www.nydropboxes.org/.