National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day was Saturday

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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration made a push over the weekend to empty our medicine cabinet shelves of the prescription drugs most of us have sitting there, setting up 4,000 points nationwide where people could drop off their expired or unwanted medications. Dr. Ross says one stated reason for the take-back to avoid polluting water supplies caused by flushing drugs seems silly, because there s no reason to think traces of pharmaceuticals in drinking water cause problems. But ACSH staffers agree that it s worthwhile to get unused drugs out of parents medicine cabinets.

There s a real danger with (the ADHD drug) Adderall, kids save it until exam time, and then they have a party with it, says ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom. Or they hoard it to study all night. It s one methyl group away from crystal meth. It s not as powerful, but it s in the exact same class and binds to the exact same receptors. Most prescription drugs never go bad either.

Dr. Ross adds, I think opiate painkillers are an equally serious concern, if not more so, since many people have them stored in the medicine cabinets from toothaches and joint injuries of years gone by. Kids will find them, and especially mixed with alcohol, they can be deadly.