Did you know you should NOT flush medications down a toilet or sink?  Sarah Cooper from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and Kathy Glapa from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation joined us on a recent episode of Community Health Matters to discuss how to safely dispose of unused medications. View their segment here.

After an injury or illness, have you ever been prescribed a medication that you did not finish? Leaving the half-empty bottle in your medicine cabinet for a rainy day can be dangerous. The majority of opioids contributing to the current opioid epidemic come from legal prescriptions that have been stolen or shared. Out of all the drugs misused by youth age 12 and older, 52 percent were obtained from a friend or family member.

However, disposing of medications by tossing them into the trash or down the drain can also be dangerous. When dumped in a landfill or flushed down a toilet, chemicals from the prescription drugs can leak into the water system and be difficult for water treatment facilities to filter out.

The best way to dispose of any pharmaceutical product is to take it to a medication collection event or a Prescription Drug Take-Back Box. Take-Back Boxes dispose of medications in a safe, environmentally-friendly manner and accept prescriptions, liquid medications in leak-proof containers, medicated ointment, lotions or drops, pills in any packaging, over-the-counter medications and pet medications.

There is at least one Take-Back Box in every county in the state of Tennessee. To find a Prescription Drug Take-Back Box near you, visit TDEConline.tn.gov/RXtakeback.

If you or a loved one has a prescription drug problem and you need immediate help, call The Red Line at 1-800-889-9789.

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Community Health Matters airs on the second Monday of each month at 9:30 a.m. Central Time, with an encore showing on the second Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m Central.