Let’s face it, at one time or another we’ve been prescribed medication and either didn’t take it or failed to finish it. Are those pesky prescription bottles filling up your cabinets or refrigerator and you’d like to be rid of them? Do you have medicines that have expired? Did you know that you shouldn’t throw medication away or flush them down the toilet?

Here are some statistics and information about why it’s not a good idea to keep medication laying around and tips for its disposal.

  1. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported over 255,000 cases of improper medicine use, 5,000 of which involved children 6 years or younger. A medicine that was prescribed for and works for you could be dangerous to someone else. Sharing medicines can result in allergic reactions, heart or liver failure, or cause someone to die.

Here is a link for information about prescription drug disposal. — http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm101653.htm

  1. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 7 million Americans abuse pain medication.  Over-the-counter medications are the most commonly abused drugs by high school seniors.  Nearly 1 in 12 high school seniors reported abusing Vicodin and nearly 1 in 20 reported illegally using OxyContin.  Astonishingly, over 70% of these students obtained these drugs from a friend or a relative.

Here is a link to The Georgia Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Initiative – http://stoprxabuseinga.org/

  1. Prescription medication thrown into the trash ends up in landfills and can leak into underground water tables. Medication flushed down the toilet will eventually make its way back to the same water treatment facilities that process your drinking water.  And while water facilities filter out many contaminants, unwanted chemicals may make it past these filters depending on their composition and size.

There are over 180 drug disposal sites in Georgia, here is a map to help you find the one nearest you-  http://stoprxabuseinga.org/prescription-drug-disposal/

  1. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) works with state and local law enforcement agencies to sponsor National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days. These community drug take-back programs allow you to bring your unused medication to a central location and the sponsor will dispose of it for you.  Call your local government’s household trash and recycling office to locate and take advantage of a community drug take-back program.

For more information, including how to properly dispose of “medical sharps” click on the following link- http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/index.html

Medicines have aided the health of mankind, properly disposing of any unused quantities is better for all of us, including the environment.






The information found on the Gerstenberger Law site is for educational purposes only.  Your situation and the situation of others is unique and more complex.  This is neither legal advice nor to be considered legal advice.  Contact us for advice about your specific situation



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