National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, April 30

Get rid of those unwanted medications cluttering your cabinet!

Several containers of over the counter and prescription medications on the shelves of a 1960's medicine cabinet.

Many years ago, a new father was inspired by the birth of his first child to improve his health. He used a prescription medication to stop smoking and when he had some medication left over, he placed it in a drawer. When his child grew to be an inquisitive toddler, the child found the medication and before the parents were aware had ingested enough of these pills to be at risk for seizures and other life-threatening complications.

Fortunately, this story ended well.  Managed quickly in the hospital, the child suffered no complications and after observation was sent home.

Tragically, this is not an isolated incident.

Prescription drugs are an important part of modern healthcare.  When taken as prescribed, pharmaceuticals have great potential to help with a wide variety of ailments and conditions.  When misuse occurs, however, great problems can also result. Continue reading

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, September 26

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 71,000 children under the age of 18 visit emergency departments in this country every year because of accidental ingestion of medications. They also estimate 44 people die every day in the U.S. due to abuse of prescription medications.

As an emergency physician, I have seen my share of these tragedies.  From a child suffering seizures from a parent’s smoking cessation aid, to the tragic death of a young adult from prescription pain medication abuse, these cases devastate families.

According to federal data from 2010, the nation’s emergency departments see approximately 1.3 million patients annually for pharmaceutical misuse and abuse.  Many of these visits could be prevented.

Often, simple precautions can keep children and others safe from accidental or unintentional overdose. One of the simplest ways to prevent medication misuse is by removing the threat from your home.

Saturday, September 26, 2015 is the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.  Many local businesses and law-enforcement agencies will be collecting medications for appropriate disposal. Continue reading