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How to Properly Dispose of Prescription Drugs

Taney County recently held an event that got rid of 140 pounds of old prescription medication. If you missed your chance to drop off your unused pills, you can get rid of them safely in the convenience of your own home. KSMU’s Chasity Mayes has more.

According to the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, prescription drugs have become the second most abused illegal drug for kids ages 12 to 17, behind marijuana. Mary Moore is a prevention specialist for the Community Partnership of the Ozarks. She says the abuse is a big problem.

“Well, teen prescription drug abuse is one of our most prevalent trends right now. And so they have really been looking at ways to get all of those unused medications out of the medicine cabinet,” says Moore.

A majority of those teen abusers feed their addictions at home using prescriptions from friends and family to get high. Moore says there are disposal guidelines provided by the FDA that will make those pills look a little less appealing.

“They recommend that you take all of your unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs out of the original container, mark out the information on the container, and then mix the prescription drugs with an undesirable substance. Something like kitty litter or coffee grounds,” says Moore.

Moore also says that the FDA suggests putting the pill mixture into resealable bags before they go into the trash. She says that will keep animals from ingesting them.

Besides keeping medications out of the hands of abusers, Moore says that following the guidelines will also keep them from ending up in the water supply system. Since certain medications are more sought after than others, the FDA does suggest flushing a few specific kinds. A list of those medications can be found on the FDA’s website.

You can also ask your local pharmacy if they provide a drug “take back” service.

For KSMU News, I’m Chasity Mayes.