Research into the beginnings of drug addiction reveals a disturbing trend: it often starts with prescription pain medication. Knowing what to do with old medications can be a mystery. Once it’s served its purpose, it often sits in a bathroom cabinet until either it’s tossed—which is an environmental hazard — or until someone who shouldn’t have it finds it. If the recent epidemic of overdoses in the U.S. tells us anything, it’s that prescription medications are potentially dangerous when they’re misused.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported in 2013’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health that nearly 68% of people who used prescription drugs obtained them from family and friends — which means without a doctor’s consent. For those looking to safely remove these drugs from their homes, drug disposal kits answer the mystery of how to safely discard old medications.
The Dangers Of Improper Medication Disposal
Disposing of prescription drugs properly can curtail some prescription medication abuse. Unfortunately, even the most well-intention people make mistakes with unused medication. If the drugs are tossed, they’ll eventually find their way into soil and water supplies — unless someone finds them. People who are desperate for medication may resort to rifling through trash in search of drugs, especially if they know that someone in the home underwent a recent surgery.
Many decide that flushing the drugs is safe. However, this is another environmental hazard. It disrupts the purity of the water supply and may affect sea life.
How To Properly Dispose Of Prescription Medications
Most health centers accept unused medication for disposal, but in areas where this isn’t an option, drug disposal kits make this task convenient for the user and safe for the environment. Drug disposal kits help deter anyone from misusing or abusing prescription drugs, and they protect our natural resources from contamination.
There are several kits on the market today. Two of the most popular are The Drug Buster and The Deterra Pouch. The Drug Buster uses activated charcoal to neutralize active chemicals found in prescription drugs. This prevents misuse and environmental contamination. The Deterra Pouch is a pouch-based system that destroys the chemical compounds in prescription medications, making them safe for landfills.
Who Should Use Drug Disposal Kits?
Drug disposal kits make it simple to properly dispose of prescription drugs. Because drug disposal kits are easy to use and save time, they’re the most effective way to dispose of unused prescription drugs. Anyone who has recently been prescribed addictive medications that are no longer useful should consider obtaining drug disposal kits — especially if such prescriptions are a regular occurrence. Medical professionals, as well as many organizations (like Pharmaceutical Research, Manufacturers of America, the FDA, and pharmaceutical companies), are committed to the proper disposal of prescription medications.
Dr. Bhalavat is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, and provides inpatient evaluation and consultation services at the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital, Maryland Recovery Partners, and Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center. Dr. Bhalavat’s background includes treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, substance abuse and dementia.