Prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drugs among 12-13 year olds. Many of these pills can be found in your medicine cabinet and around your house. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Foundation and their AWARxE Consumer Protection Program are helping to spread information about prescription drug abuse and proper disposal methods. In an effort to help stop this growing problem, the DEA is hosting a Take-Back Day on April 28, 2012. If you have any unused prescription drugs in your home, you can drop them off at the designated collection site in your community on April 28. The DEA coordinates with the local law enforcement and community partners to provide thousands of sites across the country, many of them at police departments, so that the unwanted drugs are disposed of safely and legally. Sites will accept pills, both prescription and nonprescription, for disposal.
You can find out more information about AWARxE at www.AWARERX.ORG. And don’t forget to like them on Facebook! www.facebook.com/AWARxE .
I had the opportunity to interview an expert: Dr. Catizone. Dr. Catizone is the Executive Director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and a licensed pharmacist. He currently serves as a Governor of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) Board of Directors and Chair of the PTCB Certification Council. Dr. Catizone is regularly called to serve as an expert witness for the US Government in the areas of pharmacy practice and regulation on both the state and national level issues.
Check out my interview with him:
a) What are the dangers of taking drugs not prescribed to you?
Taking a medication not prescribed for you can lead to serious health consequences, permanent injuries, or death. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2009, 1.2 million emergency department visits were related to the misuse or abuse of prescription drugs. Controlled substance medications have the potential for abuse, and taking these medications if they are not prescribed to you could lead to addiction. Every year, 15,000 people die from an overdose of prescription painkillers, according to the CDC.
b) What steps can a person take to ensure their prescription drugs are safe?
When picking up a new prescription ask to have the label and dosage explained to you. If there are any discrepancies between what the pharmacist tells you and what your doctor has told you, ask to have that discrepancy resolved immediately. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the medication, and talk to your pharmacist about any questions you may have.
When you receive a refilled prescription, examine the medication and note if there are any differences in color, shape, size, and taste from the medication you normally receive. Also, look for changes in the packaging or any evidence of tampering, such as if the packaging is unsealed or if tablets are chipped or cracked. If you notice anything different, contact your pharmacist.
If ordering a medication online, make sure to use a VIPPS® pharmacy. VIPPS-accredited pharmacies meet all state licensing requirements as well as nationally endorsed standards of pharmacy practice. When consumers see the VIPPS Seal they can also be sure that the online pharmacy they are using is in compliance with standards of privacy, authentication, and security, that it adheres to quality assurance policy, and that the site provides meaningful consultation between patients and pharmacists. The list of VIPPS Internet Pharmacies is available on the AWARxE Web site.
c) I have three teenagers. Are there specific or general signs I can look for to determine if they are taking prescription drugs that don't belong to them?
Side effects associated with prescription drug abuse include dizziness, loss of appetite, unconsciousness, impaired memory, mood swings, loss of motor coordination, trouble breathing and rapid or irregular heartbeat.
d) What is the safest way to discard of unused prescription drugs?
If you have pills or medication that is no longer needed or has expired, dispose of it at an authorized DEA Take-Back location, or a local medication disposal program. The next DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is April 28, 2012 and collection sites will be located across the country.
Also, cities and counties across the country provide permanent medication disposal programs. Many programs provide a drop-box at a police department—these programs can take controlled substance medications for disposal. Other programs are run by hazardous waste disposal agencies or other entities that cannot accept controlled substance medications, but can take all other unused drugs for safe disposal.
Many of the AWARxE Get Local pages have links to local disposal programs, and we are actively expanding these resources. We are happy to take information about local programs and post it on our Web site. Anyone who has information on a disposal program can e-mail the information they have to AWARErx@nabp.net and we will review it for inclusion on the respective state’s Get Local page.
If there are no drug disposal sites near you, there are options for disposing of drugs at home. The information that comes with your prescription may provide instructions on home disposal. Only some medications should be flushed down the toilet and the US Food and Drug Administration has a list of these drugs on its Web site. If there are no instructions for disposal you can throw the drugs in your home garbage. But first, take them out of the container and mix them with an undesirable substance like coffee grounds or cat litter.
More details about drug disposal programs are available on the AWARxE Medication Disposal page.
Links for cited Web pages:
· VIPPS pharmacy list: http://www.awarerx.org/VIPPS_Pharmacies.php
· Medication Disposal: http://www.awarerx.org/medDisposal.php
· Get Local: http://www.awarerx.org/getLocal.php
I received no compensation for this post. The opinions and questions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way. Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services. Your opinions and results may differ.