Proper medication disposal saves lives

Drive through and drop off at WellStar East Cobb Health Park this September

Have you ever wondered what you were supposed to do with that expired prescription you found in the back of your medicine cabinet? Perhaps you considered flushing it down the toilet, or throwing it in the trash can. Many people keep unused prescriptions in their homes for years because they don’t know what to do with them. Or they never thought about it.

But disposing of pain relievers and other medications properly can actually save lives.

You may have heard of the opioid crisis—addiction to prescription pain relievers and heroin that is causing an increase in overdose deaths. More than two million people in the U.S. are addicted.

Here in the peach state, things are bad. Georgia is in the top 11 states with the most prescription-related opioid deaths, with opioid-related deaths spiking, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Opioid addiction has a severe impact on the community. We are seeing the highest rates of overdoses among 25-54 year-olds. And street drugs alone aren’t what they’re overdosing on. Seventy percent of the prescriptions abused are taken from friends and family. By leaving medications in your cabinet, you could increase the risk of others accessing your prescriptions.

Why not get rid of them yourself? By throwing them out, people can unknowingly poison community water or the environment.
Medication Take Back events provide an invaluable service to the community by removing medications that could lead to accidental poisonings or overdose, no questions asked.

How it works:
• Simply bring your unused or expired medications to WellStar East Cobb Health Park—you don’t even have to get out of your car! (Sharps will be accepted. Please place your sharps inside a closed container.)
• Since the current law prohibits distribution of medication from person to person, a police officer is the only one who can accept your medication to be properly disposed of.
• The officer will place your medication in a secure box.
• The police will transport the medications to the Precinct to weigh them and destroy them by high temperature incineration at a disposal facility.

There are no forms to fill out or identification needed.
To prevent accidental poisoning and misuse of prescriptions, bring your unused or expired medications to Medication Take Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23 at WellStar East Cobb Health Park at 3747 Roswell Road, Marietta. The event is co-hosted by WellStar Health System, Cobb County Police Department and Safe Kids Cobb County.

For more information on these events, please call 770-793-7373. For more information on medication safety and proper disposal, please visit rxdrugabuse.org or contact your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222.