If you’ve turned on the news lately or picked up a newspaper, you’re probably aware that the United States is facing an opioid crisis.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 115 people in the country die because of an opioid overdose every day. That’s a startling and sad statistic. A recent study found that part of the problem may be with unused prescriptions. The study found that only about 25 percent of people who are prescribed opioids to manage pain following surgery use the entire prescription.
This means that 75 percent of surgery patients who received opioids have unused medications in their homes. These unused pills can be stolen by people who come into the home or may be used incorrectly in the future, leading to addiction. Caregivers can prevent the improper use of leftover opioids prescribed to older adults by knowing how to properly dispose of them. Below are some disposal options available to caregivers and seniors.
Homecare in Evesham NJ: Removing Unused Opioids
Caregivers can opt to take unused medicines to a take-back site. Many pharmacies will take unused medications back and dispose of them safely. They may have a secure box for drop off or you may need to give them to the pharmacist. Caregivers can call the local pharmacy to find out about their take-back policy. In addition, most communities participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back events. During these events, a temporary collection site is established where caregivers and others can bring unused drugs.
Although medicine take-back is the best and safest option for disposal, sometimes there isn’t a take-back site readily available. If that’s the case, caregivers can get rid of some medicines by throwing them in the garbage.
However, there are some steps that should be followed to get rid of them safely:
-Combine the medicines with something that will make them unpalatable. You can use coffee grounds, cat litter, or dirt.
-Seal the mixture in a container (not a medicine bottle) or plastic bag before putting it in the garbage.
-Remove all personal information from the empty medicine bottle before throwing it away.
-Flushing Down the Toilet
There are a few medicines that come with instructions that say to flush immediately flush them down the toilet when they are no longer needed. This should only be done if there is not a take-back option available. Caregivers should follow the instructions provided with the medication for the disposal and do so immediately since even a single dose could pose serious health threats or even death.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Homecare in Evesham, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Attentive Care Inc. 1-800-493-5660