Many people have several prescription medications lying without use in their cabinets. The medications are either expired or no longer needed. Such drugs need to be disposed properly to avoid potential misuse or abuse. There are several methods for pharmaceutical disposal that one can opt for. Not all methods are suitable for all medications and one should be careful. Below are general tips and methods on safe disposal.
There is the risk of misuse or abuse of unused or expired medications if they are left in the home. No adverse effects result from most prescription medicines if consumed by the wrong people. However, some medications can have very serious effects on the wrong user. Apart from that, accidental or intentional consumption of prescription medications by the elderly and children is also possible. If that happens, the extreme situation could result into death of the individual.
Like stated above, every medication has a preferred disposal method. The labels in which the drugs come usually contain instructions on how to safely dispose them away when they are no longer being used. One should follow these instructions carefully to avoid making mistakes. Disposal instructions may also be found on patient information that accompanies the medication.
The trash is one of the most commonly used methods for disposing pharmaceuticals. Drugs disposed in household trash most likely ends up in local landfills. This option is not safe for everybody. Those who live with small children or adults with mental problems should avoid using it. Children and the mentally unstable individuals may go digging around the trash and find the medications and abuse them without the knowledge of someone of sound mind.
Flashing down the sink is an option that can be used for less harmful medications. When one uses this option, they should do it in the bathroom sink and not the kitchen one. Drugs are available in various forms such as liquids, powders, capsules, and tablets and they may wash down the sink differently. One must ensure that every last bit is washed away. One should break only those medications that should be broken when flashing.
Another very useful method is the take-back program. These are programs where members of the public are encouraged to take all expired or unused medications back to some central location. The location can be a hospital department, law-enforcement agency, or other official place. Not all cities or towns offer this service and one should call relevant authorities to enquire if the program exists in their area.
There are also several registered medicine collectors in various cities. These collectors collect unused and expired medications from the public. One must ensure that the collector is registered by the relevant authorities. Examples of such sites include law enforcement locations, clinic pharmacies, hospitals, and retail centers. Some of these collectors offer collection receptacles or mail-back programs.
Friends and other individuals who need prescription drugs should not be given the ones not prescribed for them. Labels must be destroyed or removed from all drugs that one decide to throw in the trash. This serves as protection for medical information of the individual and also makes the drugs undesirable to other people.
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