Editorial: October 24 is National Medication Take Back Day: What Role Can You Play and Why Should You Care?

We have become comfortable with the idea of using medications to relieve our symptoms. From over the counter medicines like cough syrup, to prescription medications such as Vicodin, we have used them when needed.

When taken as prescribed, medicines can and do improve the quality of our lives; but medicine abuse is a real problem in our nation and here’s why.

The most common way young people get their hands-on prescription medications for misuse is to simply reach into their home or a grandparent’s medicine cabinet.

Prescription medicines are one of the top drugs of choice among high school students, following alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco.

Youth who misuse prescription drugs are also more likely to smoke cigarettes, engage in heavy drinking, and use illicit drugs including marijuana and cocaine. Prescription drugs are meant to help us, but they can harm our children or others, when abused or misused, and ourselves. 

Taking a medication prescribed for someone else, taking your own prescription in a way not intended by a doctor, or taking a medication to get high are all considered misuse or abuse. It’s important to also note that while it is unsafe to share prescription medication with a family member or friend, it is also illegal – even when shared with good intentions. A big misperception is that prescription drugs are safer than “street” or illicit drugs because a doctor has prescribed them, when in fact they can be just as dangerous.

What Role Can You Play?

Know how many pills are in each of your prescription bottles or pill packets and keep track of your refills. 

If a child / teen has been prescribed a medicine, be sure you control the medicine, and monitor dosages and refills. 

Take prescription medicine out of the medicine cabinet and secure them in a place only you know about. 

If possible, keep all medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter, in a safe place, such as a locked cabinet your teen cannot access. 

Tell relatives, especially grandparents, to lock up their medicine or keep them in a safe place. 

Take an inventory of all of the medicine in your home. Get rid of any expired or unused Rx and OTC medicine in your home. 

Do not throw in trash and do not flush medicine down the toilet or sink drain. 

The best way to dispose of unused or expired medication is to find the nearest drug collection box or find a local drug take back event.

To get rid of your medication safely in Tioga County, you can drop it off on Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at CASA-Trinity’s parking lot behind John’s Fine Foods in Owego or at the Spencer Fire Department. This is a free “drive up and drop off” service. 

Find us on Facebook for more details @Tiogaasap or visit Tiogaasap.org.

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