(NBC) – One way to combat the opioid epidemic begins in the medicine cabinet.
According to a national survey on drug use and health, over 11 million people misused prescription pain relievers in 2017. Many got them from a friend or relative.
“If you have it lying around, that’s easy access for someone to see what they can have,” said Kiley Garafalo, Walgreens Pharmacist.
Experts say the best thing to do is to get rid of the medication once you no longer need it… but safely.
Many pharmacy chains, such as Walgreens and CVS, now have kiosks inside some of their stores where people can discard most of their medicine year round.
“There’s people who will come in with bags of medication,” Garfalo said. “They’re not going to bring in one at a time.”
If you don’t live near a collection site, there are ways you can throw out medicine at home.
The FDA recommends mixing medication with something unsavory such as dirt or kitty litter, and putting it in a sealed plastic bag and throw it out with your trash.
If you throw out the prescription bottle, make sure all personal information has been removed.
And only flush medication if the label or the accompanying information specifically instructs you to do so.
Important spring cleaning, that can have lasting impacts on health.
If you do not live near a pharmacy that has a disposal bin, experts say you should call your local health department and they may be able to provide some suggestions.
You should also check with your doctor first before you start taking prescribed medication once again. It is still safe to take as long as it has not expired.
And for more information on national prescription drug take back day, please go to https://takebackday.dea.gov