Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold tells WGNS that thieves are after what may be in your medicine cabinet. Arnold said by getting rid of expired drugs that may be in your house you are decreasing the chances of a repeat and possibly even a first time break-in if the criminal is familiar with what may be inside your house.
Right now, there are no drug take back program days scheduled in Rutherford County. So the question stands, “How do you dispose of prescription drugs?” The FDA suggests throwing medications away in the household trash, but first mixing them with undesirable substances like used coffee grounds to keep pets and children from having the urge to digest them.
Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold
The FDA and their guidelines on Drug Disposal
Guidelines for Drug Disposal
FDA worked with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to develop the first consumer guidance for proper disposal of prescription drugs. Issued by ONDCP in February 2007 and updated in October 2009, the federal guidelines are summarized here:
- Follow any specific disposal instructions on the drug label or patient information that accompanies the medication. Do not flush prescription drugs down the toilet unless this information specifically instructs you to do so.
- Take advantage of community drug take-back programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Call your city or county government's household trash and recycling service (see blue pages in phone book) to see if a take-back program is available in your community. The Drug Enforcement Administration, working with state and local law enforcement agencies, is sponsoring National Prescription Drug Take Back Daysthroughout the United States.
- If no instructions are given on the drug label and no take-back program is available in your area, throw the drugs in the household trash, but first:
- Take them out of their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter. The medication will be less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through your trash.
- Put them in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the medication from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.
FDA's Deputy Director of the Office of Compliance Ilisa Bernstein, Pharm.D., J.D., offers some additional tips:
- Before throwing out a medicine container, scratch out all identifying information on the prescription label to make it unreadable. This will help protect your identity and the privacy of your personal health information.
- Do not give medications to friends. Doctors prescribe drugs based on a person's specific symptoms and medical history. A drug that works for you could be dangerous for someone else.
- When in doubt about proper disposal, talk to your pharmacist.
Bernstein says the same disposal methods for prescription drugs could apply to over-the-counter drugs as well.