Do It Anyway
(Part 4: Into the Open blog series)
by Stephanie Pericich
For several years, our family has participated in National Prescription Take Back Day and other take back events. These events are often held in conjunction with recycling, upcycling, and shredding events, which makes it easy to drop off our various recyclables and unused medications all at once.
Covid-19 changed all of that, as the majority of the spring/summer take back events were cancelled in an effort to reduce virus spread. Certainly, my bundle of paper-to-be-shredded could wait, and I figured that any unused medications (usually an ointment of some kind or an expired bottle of vitamins) could wait as well. But for whatever reason, I decided to check our medicine cabinet anyway.
To my surprise, I found two small bottles of unused prescription pain drugs, prescribed over a year ago when I was experiencing persistent back pain. Although neither of the prescriptions were opioids, both of them featured several side effect warnings on their labels– certainly not the kind of thing that I would want my pre-teen to ingest in any quantity.
With all of this year’s virtual learning, kids are spending more time at home than usual, which provides them with more time to explore their homes– including, potentially, medicine cabinets and other areas where prescription drugs may be stored. But the good news is that even when take back events cannot take place, there are still ways to quickly and safely dispose of prescription drugs. Children’s hospitals, police stations, and websites such as https://withyoustl.dea.gov/ and https://ahc-stl.org/ can provide guidance on the proper disposal of prescriptions at home, along with locations of nearby drug collection sites and dates of upcoming take back events.
As for me, I happened to have a safe pill disposal container on hand that I had obtained at a prior take back event. Within a matter of minutes, I was able to safely destroy and dispose of all of the pills. Although I wish that I had disposed of the pills at an earlier point, I am glad that I took the time to look through my medicine cabinet on that spring day, even though I was almost certain that I would not find anything of consequence. I am glad that I did it anyway.
Stephanie Pericich is a Parkway area wife, mother and an independent author of non-fiction and poetry. Ms. Pericich has volunteered to share her experiences and perspectives as a mother navigating the challenges of parenting for the purpose of encouraging community conversations about keeping kids safe and healthy.