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Your Life, Your Health: What to do with old medication

Updated: Tuesday, August 12 2014, 06:22 PM EDT
Did you know that according to the DEA forty percent of homes in New York have unused or expired prescription medications in them that need to be thrown out?

A new website is helping people dispose of drugs the right way – and it’s far more involved than just tossing a pill bottle in the trash.

Two months ago a pilot program was launched only in New York called My Old Meds ( It’s a site built to raise awareness and build education about the safe disposal of prescription medications. Kalaen Hollon, Senior Director of Communications for PhRMA, the company that created the website says any medication taken by others that it isn’t prescribed or intended for can have dangerous consequences.

“A lot of times you see teenagers who feel that abusing medicine is safer than taking illicit drugs which is a huge misconception.” Hollon says.

In fact, the DEA says 2 out of 5 teens think prescription drugs are ‘much safer’ than illegal drugs. This is just one of the many statistics listed on that startled Jennifer Graybeal, a mother of two from Ballston Spa. Her sons are both under the age of 6. She has been paying close attention to how to safely store her meds .. locking up medicine cabinets and keeping things out of reach.

“It was just kind of a red flag so I wanted to start being prepared and making sure I was taking the proper precautions and correct steps to keep my children safe.” Graybeal says.

Besides stats, the site educates users on safe storage, locations of community disposals, and also on how to correctly dispose of medications within the home. Here is a quick breakdown:

In-home disposal:

  • Pour pills into a sealable plastic bag. Pour water in to dissolve the pills.
  • Add kitty litter or sawdust to make the contents as unappealing as possible to potential users.
  • Seal bag and put in trash.
  • Take pill bottle and destroy all personal information on the label.

There are certain pills the FDA wants you to flush down the toilet immediately (controlled substances) and for that list:
Your Life, Your Health: What to do with old medication

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