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Get ready, get set, get rid of your outdated prescription drugs

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National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is set for this Saturday, April 26, reminding all of us to clear out our medicine cabinets of expired or no longer needed drugs during this spring cleaning season. After all, once a medication is past its "use by" date, it can ...

  • Lose its "efficacy," or its ability to produce the desired effects;
  • Lead to a lengthier illness;
  • Possibly pose a safety risk should its chemical or physical properties change over time.

So what's a person to do? For starters, to avoid contaminating landfills and/or the water system, never simply toss these meds in the trash, in the toilet, or down the sink. Instead, check out this list of local disposal locations in place this Saturday and head to one in your area, such as the Giant at 1760 DeKalb Pike, where a pharmacist will be on hand to answer any questions you might have. And remember, it's free of charge and done anonymously. Just no needles.

If that's not doable, though, thanks to the Montgomery County Prescription Drug Disposal Program, there are 23 permanent, secure boxes set up for this purpose in 22 sites throughout the county. Just click here to find one near you.

But if that doesn't work for you either, and there are no disposal instructions on your prescription labels, then:

  1. Remove the meds from their containers and mix them with something like coffee grounds or kitty litter to avoid accidental ingestion.
  2. Place the mixture in a sealed bag, plastic container, or empty can.
  3. Throw it in the trash.

Oh, yes, before tossing the container, either remove the label or scratch out all the personal information on it, so that it can't be read by anyone.

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