Saturday Is National Rx Drug Take-Back Day
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To combat the growing prescription drug epidemic in the US, and to ensure Rx drugs are disposed of properly, law enforcement and drug prevention groups across the country are participating in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday. The anonymous, no-cost program will set up drop-off locations in hundreds of communities in every state (click here to find a site near you). More than 2 million pounds (1,018 tons) of unused prescription medications have been disposed of in the past five years' events. Everyday in the US 2,700 kids between the age of 12 and 17 are introduced to prescription pain killers, which have the highest overdose death rate of any drug. "Medication abuse often starts with teens stealing from the homes of family and friends," says Amy Tiemeier, assistant professor and director of professional affairs at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. "Those medications act as a gateway to narcotics like heroin or cocaine. Removing unwanted medications from your home helps protect not only your family, but the entire community." Flushing unused prescription drugs down the toilet is discouraged, as these drugs end up contaminating public water. But the longer prescription pills sit in a medicine cabinet, the chance of them being misused increases. Furthermore, "a few medications become toxic and can be very harmful if taken after they have expired," says Tiemeier. "If patients are concerned about medications falling into the wrong hands, lock it in a drawer or keep it with you at all time."