Get rid of leftover medicines safely on Saturday

One of the simplest opportunities to personally intervene in the epidemic of opioid addiction, overdose, and death comes on Saturday: Find all your vials of unused medicines (any kind) and drop them off at designated collection sites.

Research shows that most people who become  addicted to prescription pain relievers or heroin started with pills they got from family and friends. They were bought, bartered, borrowed, or — always a surprise — swiped from the medicine chest during a party. Many if not most of those pills began as legitimate prescriptions; the pain may have resolved and the rest of the bottle left over. 

Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Leftovers will be accepted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at more than 100 locations in the Philadelphia region alone, many but not all of them at local police stations. The Drug Enforcement Administration then collects the dropoffs and disposes of them safely. (Flushing them down the toilet can contaminate streams and even get into the drinking water supply.)

Locations may be found in a searchable database at www.dea.gov (or call 1-800-882-9539).