Leaving prescription painkillers around your home is very dangerous and can lead to deadly circumstances. It is very common for painkillers to fall into the wrong hands. Whether it be a friend or family member, it's important to realize how destructive and dangerous opiates can be. Studies have shown that teenagers who are addicted to opiates, first acquired them by finding them in their home or a friend's home. Painkillers are extremely dangerous when taken by anyone who they are not prescribed for. It is important to keep your prescriptions locked in a safe or dispose of old medications the safe way, using drop boxes.
I remember as a child growing up watching my parents flush old prescriptions down the toilet. When the expiration date passed, this was a common practice. This is no longer recommended because of the dangers of the medications getting into our soil, and drinking water. An Associated Press investigation back in the mid 2000's uncovered that 5700 hospitals and over 125,000 long term care facilities had very lenient disposal laws for their unused or expired medications. Millions of pounds of medications are flushed or excreted into the drinking water each year. Our drinking water is taking a hit, and trace elements of many medications are now seen in drinking water.
Prescription painkillers should be treated like poison. They are extremely deadly in the wrong hands, and worth a lot of money on the street. The combination of their addiction qualities and price, makes them very harmful. If you have teenagers, they face a lot of peer pressure from friends and classmates. If your child knows you are on painkillers, they may tell their friends about it. Your child may be a good kid, but one bad egg in the group can convince them to steal some pills for them to try. An overdose can easily occur when the pills fall into the wrong hands. Oxycontin timed release pills are 16 times more powerful than 5mg Oxycodone. A first time user can easily overdose and die from a single pill. Most teenagers are unaware of what they are ingesting and the whole scenerio could be avoided if the prescriptions were locked up or taken to a designated drop off site once they were no longer needed.
Designated prescription drop off sites are located in almost every city in the United States. They have gained popularity due to the convenience, and lives they can save. To give an idea of the impact drop boxes have made, in 4 metro counties in Minnesota, they were able to destroy over 15 tons of prescription medications that could have otherwise landed in the wrong hands. I can not even imagine the amount of lives this has saved or has prevented from going down a dark road of abuse and addiction. Keep in mind that this is only 4 counties in the entire United States. Prescription pill designated drop-offs work and if you are looking for one in your area simply contact your local health department, hospital, police department or pharmacy. Talking with many people about this topic, we found the best solution is to contact your local pharmacy first. Most pharmacies will take old prescriptions to destroy, or will be able to tell you where you can bring them.