Spring Clean Your Medicine Cabinet




Is your medicine cabinet brimming with half-empty bottles of unneeded or expired medication? Many people accrue a collection of leftover drugs over time, but there are sound reasons to get rid of old meds that are cluttering your cabinet. They include:

Safeguarding children. A curious child who looks through your cabinet may wonder why you have colorful “candy” in the bathroom, then sample a few pills. This can lead to poisoning or even death.

Preventing drug abuse. A teen or adult who’s seeking a high may check your cabinet for pain medication or other substances, assuming you’ll never miss pills from a forgotten vial. This is particularly worrisome in the case of highly addictive prescription opioids.

In fact, says David Miller of Millers Homecare & Compounding Pharmacy in Wyckoff, keeping potentially dangerous prescriptions out of the hands of teens is the number-one reason to purge your medicine chest of dated drugs.

Homecare & Compounding Pharmacy in Wyckoff, keeping potentially dangerous prescriptions out of the hands of teens is the number-one reason to purge your medicine chest of dated drugs.

Avoiding the urge to “share.” Even giving your unneeded pills to a friend or relative who takes the same medication can be harmful, especially when the dosage is higher than intended or the contents have expired.

So what does one do with leftover meds? You may be inclined to flush them down the toilet, but this can contaminate the water supply in your area. Instead, seek out a drug take back program, which many counties and municipalities offer.

Every take-back program is different, so find out whether the one you plan to use accepts both prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and if there are any restrictions on liquids or syringes. Be sure to black out or remove all personal information before putting prescription drugs in a drop box.

In addition, says Miller, you can return your meds to a pharmacy where they will be properly destroyed.

This simple gesture will help keep your loved ones safe, the environment clean and your medicine cabinet tidy.

Drop-off locations

In addition to pharmacies, many law-enforcement agencies hold drug take-back programs and serve as drop-off locations for unwanted or expired medication. Check with local police departments for days and times. Participating departments include:

Cliffside Park, 525 Palisade Ave.,
201.945.3600

Cresskill, 67 Union Ave.,
201.568.1400 *

Lyndhurst, 367 Valley Brook Ave.,
201.939.2900

Paramus, 1 Carlough Dr.,
201.262.3400

Maywood, 15 Park Ave.,
201.845.8800 *

Palisades Park, 275 Broad Ave.,
201.944.0900

Teaneck, 900 Teaneck Rd.,
201.837.2600

Westwood, 101 Washington Ave.,
201.664.7000

* — drop-off is available 24/7

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