When it comes to our medicine cabinets, many of us have unused or expired prescriptions still hanging around our homes.
New research out this month from the Journal of American Medical Association Surgery says two out of three patients are holding onto their old prescriptions a lot longer than they should which could end up in the wrong hands ranging from children to teenagers looking to get high.
Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey took a closer look at the new study with help from area pharmacists at Weis Markets in Nanticoke on Monday.
Assistant Professor at Wilkes University's School of Pharmacy Nicole Pezzino explained the new report and offered suggestions to help combat the opioid epidemic.
Experts say never flush old medications down the toilet or throw them into the trash because they could harm the environment.
To help fight the prescription drug abuse problem, Geisinger has also partnered with community pharmacies and law enforcement to implement medication disposal boxes throughout the region.
Geisinger presently has 21 locations across Luzerne, Lycoming, Northumberland, Snyder, Montour, Columbia and Dauphin counties with plans to double the number of sites and expand into several additional counties in northeastern and central Pennsylvania.
Here is what is accepted in the collection units:
- Prescription and over-the-counter solid medications
- Tablets and capsules
- Liquid medications in the original containers (ex: cough syrups and cold medicines)
- Prescription patches
- Medical Creams and ointments
- Nasal sprays
- Pet medicines
Here is what is not accepted in the collection units:
- Intravenous solutions
- Injectables, syringes, and needs (ex: EpiPens)*
*These items should be taken to a healthcare professional's office or to a hospital for proper disposal.
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Compressed cylinders or aerosols (ex: asthma inhalers)
- Iodine-containing medications
There's also a new way for you to safely get rid of unwanted prescription medications right in your own home as part of drug deactivation and disposal pouches. See the Newswatch 16 story here.
For a list of installed medication disposal boxes at retail locations in the Wilkes-Barre area, head here.