With a raging opioid epidemic in the U.S. and millions of leftover prescription pills in our homes, we all have a duty to destroy and deactivate these unused medications in a safe and environmentally friendly way. Recovery Centers of America and Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse are teaming up to help this effort. RCA and MAPDA are providing special drug disposal pouches at various events in upcoming months.
Keeping highly addictive drugs in the medicine cabinet “just in case” is a dangerous practice. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (“SAMHSA”), more than half of individuals misusing prescription opioids bought, were given, or stole the prescription drugs from a friend or relative, often from the home medicine cabinet.
Additionally, improper disposal of unused and expired medications also damages our environment. Measurable amounts of antibiotics, antidepressants and medications used to treat diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure have all been found in U.S. lakes and rivers.
According to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (”DEA”), between 2006 and 2012, drug companies saturated our country’s pharmacies with over 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocone pills. Often, the opioid pills prescribed for post-surgical use are unused or expired but are kept in people’s homes. These drugs need to be deactivated and destroyed and then disposed of — not only to prevent misuse and addiction– but also because these extra pills create an environmental hazard. Flushing some of these pills down the toilet or sink and mixing with other substances like kitty litter do not meet the “non-retrievability” standard for safe disposal and can poison our water supply.