Properly disposing of prescription and over-the-counter medications is essential to combat prescription drug abuse and contamination of our water systems. The non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in America. The most commonly abused prescription drugs are pain relievers: Oxycotin, codeine and Vicodin.
Studies indicate that a majority of prescription drug abusers obtain their drugs from a friend or relative. One report estimated the cost of prescription pain reliever abuse to be $8.6 billion in 2001. When prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications are misused they can be extremely harmful and even deadly, especially if combined with other drugs or alcohol.
In addition, medications are biologically active so it only takes a small amount to affect aquatic organisms, wildlife and us. Pharmaceuticals cannot be removed at wastewater treatment facilities and are being found in waterways, including drinking water, across the country. Medications end up in water systems through two primary paths. First, humans consume medications and excrete quantities of the medication into sewer systems, and second, people and companies flush unused or expired medications down the toilet or the drain.
In an effort to curb the amount of medications ending up in our environment, Metro Health Hospital is parterning up with the DEA’s National Take Back Initiative to offer Drug Take Back Days. Anyone from the community may anonymously drop off expired or unused medications (prescription, over-the-counter and controlled substances) in front of Metro Health Hospital at 5900 Byron Center Ave. SW, Wyoming, MI. For additional drop off locations around West Michigan, visit the DEA website. Please help us reduce prescription drug abuse and contamination of our environment.
For information on the next Drug Take Back Day, click here.
DEA, Office of Diversion Control
The White House, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Prescription Drug Abuse
Get Smart About Drugs – A DEA Resource for Parents
West Michigan Take Back Meds