On Friday, April 16, 2021, we will celebrate National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day. It may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to medications, but did you know that proper disposal of unused or expired doses can be important both for human health and our environment? Medications left in your medicine cabinet past their expiration date or useful life, or disposed of improperly, can be a danger to your family, friends, and neighbors. Let us talk more about why.
Even if your own family does not face any issues with abuse of medications, you may have loved ones who visit your home and have access to your medicine cabinet, who do struggle with these issues. Even if you think your cabinet is safe because it does not contain any opioids, opioids are not the only problem. Medications like ADHD medicine, sleeping pills, and antidepressants can be misused and cause poisoning that may be fatal. It, therefore, can be important to keep your medicine cabinet protected, and dispose of medications past their prime.
Unfortunately, you cannot simply throw unused or expired medications into the garbage. It can actually be against the law in many areas. This is because medications thrown into the garbage leak into the soil at landfills and contaminate the area. Many people, therefore, turn to flushing medications down the toilet instead. This can be even worse. If you flush medication, it can become part of the water supply. It can have ill effects on drinking water, and on aquatic life in your area. It can even get into the bloodstream of fish and shellfish, causing even more harm to humans and other sea animals who consume these creatures.
There is, however, some good news. On National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day, you can get organized and collect medications for disposal. Shortly afterwards, on National Drug Takeback Day, many civic organizations, in addition to medical offices and pharmacies, may have bins in public areas. It can be convenient and easy to dispose of your unused or expired medications by placing them directly into these bins. The authorities can then dispose of them properly. So, mark Friday, April 16th on your calendar. And get to cleaning!
As always, our office remains dedicated to assisting our community. For help with estate planning and related legal matters, please call us to schedule an appointment.