Friday, September 24, 2010

Drug Take Back Day

Take Back Drugs September 25, 2010

I was sent some very harsh words by someone I have known through my work for at least ten years. She read my support for the DEA’s drug take back day. It’s an opportunity for people to pack up medications they no longer need or want and bring them to a drop off point where they will be disposed of appropriately.

“Are Americans aware that we have two hands equipped to remove the drugs from our own cabinets and properly dispose in their home on-site receptacles?” She starts off in her e-mail.

Although I am confident that my medications thrown away would make it safely to the dump, I recently learned that just disposing of medications in the trash, may be causing a problem with drug abuse on Long Island. I could see how, if my teenage children, or their friends were drug abusers, they may get into the trash to get them. Even if they are not users, the selling price on the street can help with those late pizza nights, I'm sure.

“Use this wasteful money on a TV commercial re: dangers and a "task list" on how to properly dispose drugs by hand not via 4 tires.” She writes.

She makes a good point but I often see ads describing how to dispose of medications mixed with cat litter or coffee grinds. Anything to make the medications unappealing. But I’m not sure that works either. I’m surprised the environmentalists don’t get angry that we have to use gas to go throw away our medications.

But the fact is, many people do use this service and hundreds of pounds of prescription medications have been returned. In 2009, in New Jersey 9,500 pounds of painkillers, antidepressants and other medications were turned in that would have had a street value of about $34 million.

It’s a reminder that just because we don’t all agree on something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

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