Do You Know the Dangers in Your Medicine Cabinet?

dangerous drugs in medicine cabinet

With a raging opioid epidemic in the U.S. and millions of leftover prescription pills in our homes, Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse and Recovery Centers of America believe we all have a duty to destroy and deactivate our unused medications in a safe and environmentally friendly way. RCA and MAPDA are teaming up on this issue to help bring awareness to the public on the dangers of unused and expired prescription pills in their homes.

Keeping highly addictive drugs in the medicine cabinet “just in case” is a dangerous practice. According to SAMHSA, more than half of individuals misusing prescription opioids bought, were given, or stole the prescription drugs from a friend or relative, often from the home medicine cabinet.

Additionally, improper disposal of unused and expired medications also damages our environment. Measurable amounts of antibiotics, antidepressants and medications used to treat diabetes, cholesterol, and blood pressure have all been found in U.S. lakes and rivers.

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (”DEA”), between 2006 and 2012, drug companies saturated  our country’s pharmacies with over 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills.  Often, the opioid pills prescribed for post-surgical use are unused or expired but are kept indefinitely in people’s homes. The MAPDA/RCA team says that these drugs need to be deactivated and destroyed and then disposed of — not only to prevent misuse and addiction– but also because these extra pills create an environmental hazard. Flushing some of these pills down the toilet or sink and mixing with other substances like kitty litter do not meet the “non-retrievability” standard for safe disposal and can poison our water supply.

Mary Bono, a former U.S. Congresswoman and Chairman of MAPDA, says there’s no time to waste as 200 lives are at stake each day. “Far too often, opioid addiction begins in America’s medicine cabinets and we need to change that right now,” she explained.

Recovery Centers of America’s Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Deni Carise stated “Our mission at RCA is to save one million lives one neighborhood at a time. If we can prevent even one person from starting an addiction to opioids using leftover pain pills, then our partnership with MAPDA will be a tremendous success.”

RCA and MAPDA explained that many options exist for safe disposal of leftover drugs locally, including “dropoff” boxes provided by cities and first responders, so contacting your local township for suggested methods and sites of safe disposal of unwanted drugs is a good first step.

Additionally, Recovery Centers of America and Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse(MAPDA)  are providing a limited supply of Deterra environmentally safe at-home drug disposal pouches at RCA events in the upcoming months.

MAPDA is a nonprofit consumer organization started by three mothers who lost children to prescription drug overdoses. The organization aims to prevent prescription drug abuse before it starts and support individuals in recovery. Mary Bono, a well-known political speaker and consumer advocate, now heads up the organization headquartered in the Washington DC suburbs.

Recovery Centers of America is a healthcare network offering a full continuum of addiction treatment services in the Northeast and MidAtlantic. RCA’s evidence-based care is affordable as it is offered in-network with most insurers so consumers generally pay only their co-pay and deductible. RCA has inpatient facilities in Mays Landing, NJ; Devon, PA; Westminster and Danvers, MA; and Waldorf and Earleville, MD. Outpatient services are offered at most locales and in Vorhees, NJ. RCA has two Medication-Assisted-Treatment clinics in Trenton and Somerdale, NJ.

Author Profile

The Editorial Team at Lake Oconee Health is made up of skilled health and wellness writers and experts, led by Daniel Casciato who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We aim to provide our readers with valuable insights and guidance to help them lead healthier and happier lives.