Today is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, a time set aside to remind us of the importance of handling prescription drugs correctly and, when they are no longer needed, to dispose of expired, unused or unwanted drugs properly.
It is especially important now, just days after President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency. Prescription drugs left unattended or forgotten in family medicine cabinets are one of the most accessible gateways to opiate and heroin abuse.
But let’s start by saying that these drugs were developed to alleviate extreme pain from cancer and other excruciating conditions; used properly, they serve an important purpose. But they do have addictive properties and have been misused, killing, according to Trump, 100 Americans every day.
Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these medications. And studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet
Moreover, proper disposal of unused medications raises an environmental issue. We are now advised that the old ways of disposing of unused medicines - flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash - both pose potential safety and health hazards.
In other words, opioids are not the only kinds of unwanted prescription medications that we should be concerned about or that collection sites will accept. Bring any unwanted medication today from 10 a.m. to 2 p m. to police departments in Berlin, Bristol, Wethersfield or the Connecticut State Police Resident Trooper’s office in Burlington.
Make today the day you clean out your medicine cabinet.