POSTED: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 9:38am
UPDATED: Monday, October 8, 2012 - 7:51am
MCALLEN- Thousands of people in the upper valley come and buy their prescription drugs everyday-- which so many people some depend on, but after the medication expires many patients just keep the drugs or don't even know how to properly dispose of them. The FDA announced a new safety program for consumers concerning unused portions or expired medications.
"The state board of pharmacy, the Texas board of pharmacy also adopted that rule and beginning this new year require pharmacists to communicate patients concerning those prescription drugs that are not used or have been expired," said Omar Espericueta, owner of Penitas Family Pharmacy.
Many unused prescription meds go unused every year and leaving them at home can pose serious health threat. After marijuana, prescription drug abuse is rated second in the nation, because it can be easily accessed at home.
"All prescription medicine is considered dangerous, there is a description in the board of pharmacy on how we describe prescription medicine and that is all prescription medicine is considered dangerous. even the Tylenol, cough medicines should be considered dangerous and all steps should be taken to prevent an accident from happening and that is getting the wrong hands to the wrong person," said Espericueta.
So what are some ways to properly dispose them? Pharmacists suggests not to flush medications down the toilet. In a survey conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey it indicates that at least 139 bodies of water in our country tested positive with some sort of prescription drug presence in the water. In addition, pharmacists do not suggest to crush or break any unused tablets.
"Use coffee grain to mix unused tablets or liquid medicine with coffee they can also use cat litter and mix it in there and throw it into a plastic bag and conceal it that way it wont get into the wrong hands," said Espericueta. "It really just destroys the structure of the medication and conceals it so that its not visible seen by someone who is curious or a child or someone who has habitual habits on prescription drugs medicines and no one has the ability of saying oh there's medicine in the trash let me see what's that all about it's a way of concealing it and to destroy it."
The best and safest process is to call your local pharmacy and see if they have a take back program. The Drug Enforcement Administration, along with local police departments usually put on take back programs yearly to prevent pill abuse and theft.
A list from FDA tells you what expired, unwanted, or unused medicines you should flush down the sink or toilet to help prevent danger to people and pets in the home. Click here: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/EnsuringSafeUseofMedicine/SafeDisposalofMedicines/ucm186187.htm