Guidelines to host an opioid take-back event
Managing unused, unwanted and expired medications is a safety as well as an environmental concern. Safety and accidental poisoning concerns for smaller children and family pets are on the rise, however, headlines across the nation are focusing on two distinct areas of concern: the contamination of drinking water supplies with pharmaceuticals, and the rise of teen abuse of prescription medications.
Traditionally, we were told to flush unwanted medications down the drain or toilet rather than keeping them in the home. Although effective in preventing medication from potentially being misused, flushing creates a new and growing problem in the environment. Antibiotics and other medications in a septic system can destroy beneficial bacteria necessary for the system to operate. Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove or process many compounds found in medications that end up being discharged into our surface and ground water.
Community Members, especially parents of teenagers, need a safe and consistent means of disposing of unwanted medications. According to the Monitoring the Future Survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), most of teens reporting use of medications say that they obtained them from friends or family members, with one-fifth to one-quarter reporting taking them without permission. Parents and caregivers need to understand the importance of safeguarding and proper disposal of their medications.
National attention is growing and more appropriate methods of safely disposing of unwanted medications are in the works.
In summary, we wish to educate the community and bring awareness to the following issues regarding disposal of unused, unwanted and expired medications:
- Teen abuse of prescription medications
- Safety and accidental poisoning of children and family pets
- Keeping our environment clean of toxins from medications