Page 10 - AUGUST2021
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By suzanne l. thistle, ma, mlaDC
Did you know that the pre- scribed medication in your bath- room cabinet can get diverted, abused, or lead to an overdose? Forgotten pharmaceuticals are often a gateway to opiate abuse for an unexpected user. Accord- ing to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admin- istration, "The fastest-growing drug problem in the United States isn't cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamines. It is pre- scription drugs."
Pharmaceuticals are leftover for many reasons. For instance, some people have allergic reac- tions after taking them, symp- toms change, or medication gets discontinued because of its side effects. Whatever the rea- son, leaving unused medication around is dangerous. So, take the time to lock up your cabinet or dispose of leftovers properly.
In 2010, the Drug Enforce- ment Administration and other
August 2021
Medicine Cabinet or Arsenal?
partners set out to stop the med- icine to overdose pathway, and the National Prescription "Take- Back Day” program began. Initiatives from across Amer- ica started to collect unwanted prescriptions and now host this program every year. As a result, police departments have per- manent take-back bins where you can anonymously dispose of illicit drugs or medication for free, anytime.
"We don’t question anyone who chooses to drop off unused prescriptions, prescription oint- ments, prescription patches, pet medications, over-the-counter medications, or vitamins; we en- courage it. But unfortunately, we cannot accept syringes or aero- sols. At the direction of phar- macies, liquid medications can be poured into kitty litter and disposed of." explains Kirsten Marsh, the Bristol Police De- partment's administrative assis- tant. Chief MacIntire stated, “If an illicit drug is found, call
the police so it can be disposed of properly, including syringes. The drug box located in our lobby is always open, and peo-
Suppose you find a syringe, take precautions when handling it. Blood or body fluids could expose you to the human immu- nodeficiency virus (HIV), hepa- titis B, or hepatitis C if the user had one of these viruses and you get pricked by the needle. Immediately call your primary care doctor or the hospital if accidental contamination oc- curs. In addition, utilize the fol- lowing organizations to receive recommendations to dispose of needles properly: The New Hampshire Syringe Access Ini- tiative at 603-271-0290, the SHARPs Program at 800-628- 8070, or the New Hampshire Department of Transportation Sharps Program at 603-485- 3806.
Furthermore, when you do not intend to use a medication,
don't flush it down the toilet or sink. By doing so, you may en- danger our water or wildlife. Unfortunately, medicine tossed in the trash can be consumed unintentionally by a child or pet. Instead, a safer and health- ier way to discard your unused medication is to drop it into your local police station take- back bin. Service agencies col- lect drugs in an environmentally safe manner.
Protect your loved ones and the community by locking up or removing leftover prescriptions, especially pain management ones. Evaluate your medicine regularly and rid your house of the potential arsenal that could be in your cabinet. For more information about the Bristol Police drug take-back bin, call: 744-6320.
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ple can drop medications off any time.” Don't try to remove it on your own until you get their ad- vice because some drugs can be lethal when absorbed through the skin, even in small amounts.

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