Information to Help Reduce the Misuse and Abuse of Prescription Drugs Responding to rising rates of prescription drug abuse among teens as well as environmental contamination, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) is urging Connecticut residents to properly dispose of expired or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications. "Safe and proper disposal of these substances help protect families by keeping them out of the hands of teens and others who should not have access to them," said Jerry Farrell, Jr., DCP commissioner. The 2007 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that more than 2.1 million teens have abuse prescription drugs, and that prescription drugs are abused by 12- and 13-year-olds more than any other type of drug. While flushing unwanted medications down the toilet or pouring them down the drain can help medicine misuse, this practice can cause environmental problems. Wastewater treatment plants and septic systems cannot break down the drugs as they pass back into the treated water.
If you use a medicine prescribed by your doctor:
Follow the directions on the medicine bottle, and know how much to take and how often to take it.
A medicine is prescribed for you and only you. Do not share drugs or give them to others.
If you have unused prescription medications: Safely throw away prescriptions
Keep the medication in its original container, but remove any personal information from the container before you throw it away.
Mix with hot water and make them less appealing by adding used coffee grounds or kitty litter.
Place inside a container such as an empty yogurt or margarine tub and tape it shut.
Throw out the container in the trash.
Watch for, and participate in, medication take-back programs that are held locally throughout Connecticut.
Speak to your pharmacist if you have any disposal questions or concerns.
If you have children or teenagers living with your or visiting you:
Keep your medications in a safe area where only you have access to them.
Do a pill count. Know exactly how much medication you have, so you can tell if any is missing.
Talk about prescription drugs. Stress that they are only safe for the person who receives the prescription from the doctor.
Do not let a child/teen take a prescription drug that was not prescribed for them.
When taking a prescription medicine be careful using additional medicines (including over-the-counter) and avoid drinking alcohol. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.
In case of poisoning contact the Connecticut Poison Control Center at 1.800.222.1222.
For information about the Connecticut Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, call 860.523.8042, extension 34. For more information on how to properly dispose of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, please visit the DCP's website – www.ct.gov/dcp – or call the agency's Prescription Monitoring Program at 860.713.6073.