According to the National Center for Health Statistics, poisoning is the leading cause of injury or death in the U.S. The American Association of Poison Control Centers has responded to over 2 million cases of human exposure to toxic substances, most of which were prescription/non-prescription pain relievers. Apart from these, people were also exposed to cleaning substances, personal care products, sedatives/hypnotics/antipsychotics, and antidepressants. These data are from the 2017 annual report, accumulated from 55 U.S. Poison Control Centers.
Majority of these cases were unintentional single substance exposure which occurred in a residence. Forty-five percent of exposed individuals were children not older than 5. This is alarming, especially because such mishaps could have been avoided.
This why proper drug disposal should be practiced. Keeping medications that are no longer in use may cause unwanted incidents or health risks, as well as hazards to the environment.
It is a good thing that local pharmacies and providers of home care services in Brewster, New York and other areas offer prescription drug disposal programs. Through these, the community can avoid instances of flushing down pills and harming our water supply, accidentally digesting expired medications, or using pills for illicit purposes.
We at Civility Home Care, a provider of private home care in New York, are also reminding you to carefully check the specific disposal instructions that accompany every medication. For safer medication disposal, we encourage everyone to:
- Never flush prescription drugs down any bathroom toilets unless specifically indicated by the medicine’s disposal directions.
- Place the medicines in a sealed bag, an empty can, or other kinds of containers to prevent leakage.
- Mix unused medications with coffee grounds, kitty litter, or other undesirable substances to make it less appealing to children, pets, and people who may be intentionally looking for disposed pharmaceuticals.
- Remove all significant information on the medication labels to protect your identity and the privacy of your personal health information.