How to Properly Dispose of Prescription Drugs

The average American in San Jose, California typically keeps at least a few prescription drugs stored in the back of the medicine cabinet.

It’s not uncommon for doctor’s patients to leave prescriptions unfinished. With the notable exception of antibiotics, it often isn’t necessary to finish a full prescription’s worth of pills. And while keeping certain medications around “just in case” might not seem like a cause for concern, the availability of excess medications can contribute to misuse and even prescription drug addiction.

For instance, many prescription drug abuse patients at area rehab centers first got their hands on addictive substances from a very familiar location—their medicine cabinets.

When disposing of prescription medications, you should follow proper procedure. Generally, don’t flush drugs down the toilet—drugs can get into the water system, flowing from San Jose drainage points all the way into the Pacific Ocean. Only certain dangerous and uncommon medications are recommended for flushing—these drugs are highly addictive and send many individuals to drug rehab centers each year. A list can be found here.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) biannual Drug Take-Back Days are a great way to safely get rid of unneeded medications. If you don’t feel comfortable waiting for the next Take-Back Day, you can always return extra medication back to the pharmacy from which they were originally purchased.

If you have recently moved to San Jose and can’t take medications back to the original pharmacy that fulfilled the prescription, prescription drugs can be thrown out with the trash as a last resort. The FDA recommends people mix unused drugs in with a highly undesirable substance, such as dirty kitty litter or used coffee grounds.

Prescription drug disposal is not to be taken lightly. Prescription drug abuse affects an estimated 52 million people in the United States. In order to reduce the number of patients of prescription drug abuse in area rehab centers, dispose of medications in a safe and approved manner.


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