SACRAMENTO — How many prescription drug bottles do you have in your home that are filled with pills you no longer use, have expired, or are half empty? When was the last time you took stock of your inventory?

Now might be a good time.

The California Department of Public Health has announced that consumers who have prescription drugs that are no longer needed or are expired can safely dispose of them on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, Saturday, Oct. 26.

Unused medications in homes create a public health and safety concern because they are highly susceptible to accidental ingestion, theft or misuse. The proper disposal of unused drugs protects the environment and helps save lives.

Visit the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website for locations throughout California, or by calling (800) 882-9539. Events throughout the state run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is no charge.

Consumers can anonymously drop off pills and other solids, such as patches and well-sealed liquids. The DEA has also authorized the collection of vape devices (minus batteries) and cartridges at the collection sites.

As of October 15th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 33 deaths among 1,479 lung injuries associated with the use of e-cigarettes. The cases span the nation and include every state except Alaska.

There will be no collection of sharps waste, such as needles and syringes at these sites.

Some  6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs, According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

During the National Prescription Drug Take-Back event in April, federal, state and local law enforcement partners across the country collected nearly 469 tons of unwanted prescription drugs. Californians disposed of more than 34 tons of unwanted drugs in that same event.

More than 4,500 law enforcement partners will assist at more than 5,250 registered sites and 135 tribal locations across the country at this year’s Take Back Day, according to the DEA.

Image Sources

  • Medications: Image by Marsha Chan from Pixabay