Prevention Talk

MEDICATION        LOCK IT UP        DROP IT OFF

Why is medication disposal such a BIG Deal?  Did you know that Americans are the world’s biggest consumers of medications, many of which are hazardous to the environment, and pose serious concerns for accidental poisoning, and misuse? Poison Control Centers in the United states reported in 2007 that approximately 9% of the 255.732 cases of improper medicine use were accidental. Furthermore, thousands of these accidental exposure cases involved children 6 or younger, and that’s despite child proof caps.

Sadly, Safe kids Worldwide in a 2017 study found that most of the accidental poisonings of children under the age of 4 are due to careless storage, or lack thereof, of medications. Little children find medications on floors, counter tops, in purses, between sofa cushions, on dressers, tables, and in pillboxes. These cases increased 30% over the last decade. The Center for Disease Control reports that small children only infrequently get into properly stored medications. Medication use has become an integral part of our life, and we are comfortable, almost nonchalant, with it but medicine can and does harm.

Nearly half (47%) of teens say they find easy access to medications in their homes and those of family members and friends. Misuse of prescription and over the counter drugs is a huge part of the current drug epidemic. Misuse of prescription drugs is one of the major avenues that leads to addiction, heroin use, and death due to overdose.

In 2009 and 2010 The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) found that traces of more than fourteen chemicals used in medicines for heart disease, depression, seizures, bi-polar disorder, muscle aches and pains, were present in New York drinking water. There were also traces of Deet, insect repellent, and personal care products. While the DEP assures us, that to be harmful, individuals would have to consume impossible amounts of water, I find it disconcerting knowing that our water is tainted by these substances, and wonder what effects they have on our ecology and environment.

The question is what can we do to manage our medications better? Here’s a few recommendations:

  • Know what and how many medications are in your home; over the counter as well as prescription. Store medications in safe places. Medication lock boxes are available for as little as twenty-five dollars online at LockMed or at Target. Throw out unused or expired medications
  • Do not flush medicine down toilets or sinks unless directed to by the manufacturer.
  • Crush pills or tablets and mix with kitty litter or used coffee grounds place in a plastic bag, seal and discard in the trash.

Better still, take all unwanted or expired medications to the disposal area in your community.

These are designated drop-off locations where meds can be disposed of, no questions asked. Locations are:

Greene County Sheriff’s Office, 80 Bridge St., Catskill – Open 9am-5pm  Monday-Friday

Coxsackie Village Police Dept., 119 Mansion St., Coxsackie – Open 8am-12am Daily

Town of Windham Police Dept., 371 Rt. 296, Hensonville – Open 9am-3pm Daily. Call to drop off: (518) 734-3030

Town of Durham Police Station, 7309 Rt. 81, East Durham – Open 7am-3pm Daily. Call to drop off: (518) 239-6310

Kelly’s Pharmacy 4852 Rte. 81, Greenville – Available during open hours

Kelly’s Pharmacy  12189 Rt. 9W, West Coxsackie – Available during open hours

Town of Cairo Police Dept., 123 Angelo Canna Park, Cairo – Open 8am-12am Daily. Call to drop off: (518) 622-2324

Protect yourselves and the ones you love.  Go to www.lockyourmeds.org for more information.