Website Review: Take Back Your Meds

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Did you know that fatal poisonings in Washington State increased 395% from 1990 to 2006, and 85 percent of poisoning deaths involved medicines in 2006? Children and teens are at an especially high risk for accidental deaths and poisonings involving medicines.

Take Back Your Meds is a website promoting a need for safe disposal of medication. Why?

  • Safe Disposal to Reduce Drug Abuse. Prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in the country. In Washington State, almost 11% of teens use medicines for non-medical reasons – a rate that’s among the highest in the nation. The abuse of medicines by teens often results in medical emergencies or fatal overdoses. Most abusers of medicines, including teens, get the drugs from a friend or relative – not from a drug dealer. A safe medicine take-back program gets potentially dangerous leftover drugs out of our homes
  • Safe Disposal to Reduce Accidental Poisonings.  Unwanted medicines left in the home endanger our children, seniors and pets. Poisonings from prescription and over-the-counter medicines are increasing. About half of the 37,000 phone calls to the Washington Poison Center concern young children who have been poisoned by medicines found at home. Getting rid of unwanted medicines at a take-back program is an important part of being safe in the home.
  • Safe Disposal to Reduce Medicines in the Environment. Large amounts of powerful medicines go unused or expire and the way we dispose of them makes a difference for our waters and our environment. For years, the advice was to flush our drugs or mix them with kitty litter and throw them in the garbage. Flushing drugs sends them directly into our waters, harming the environment.  Drugs thrown in the garbage are available for others to take and use, and can still get into the environment.  Returning medicines to a take-back program is the only environmentally sound method for disposing of unused medicines.

What you can do now:

1.  Dispose of your medicines safely — return them to one of these temporary locations

2,  Tell your friends, family members and others to safely dispose of their medicines.

3.  Safely store medicines in your home by locking them in a drawer or cabinet or a medication lock box.  

4.   Find out about efforts to create a statewide program so all people in Washington State can safely dispose of their unused medicines. 

5. Learn how medicine take back programs work.

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