DISPOSAL OF UNWANTED MEDICATIONS
A survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows more than 6 million Americans abuse prescription drugs.
"There’s a lot of potential for abuse and people do not realize that many prescription drugs are addictive," Senior Health Education Specialist Dawn Arledge.
She said there’s one trend that could be especially harmful.
"Well one of the trends we’re seeing is people mixing prescription drugs with alcohol other or other drugs," Arledge said.
She says those chemicals could react and have dangerous consequences. She also adds that just using medications without a doctors order can be risky.
"Accidental overdose deaths are all on the rise in regards to prescription drug abuse," Alredge said.
Medications can also be harmful if they're disposed of improperly. One of the most common mistakes that is made is dumping them down the drain.
Deputy public works director miles Slattery said those medications end up in the treatment plants.
"Not only our treatment plant but all treatment plants across the country aren't adequately made so that they can treat for those substances," Slattery said.
He says treatment plants along the coast will dump the treated waste to the ocean.
"So those prescription medications that people take, have water quality impacts and they'll be taken up by the wildlife and they'll get into their tissues," Slattery said.
Slattery adds that disposing medications in the trash isn’t a good idea either.
"When it goes into the landfill, it could leach into the ground water and that might be used as a drinking water supply," he said.
He says that the only safe way to dispose of medications is to drop them off at a waste management facility.
"Or through these pick-ups that they have periodically scheduled through Humboldt Waste Management Authority," Slattery said.
That next date will be Saturday, Jan. 12 from 9 to 2 at the Eureka Transit System. It's free and open to the public. All that's asked is that the medication is in the original container and the patients name is crossed off.