Empty your medicine cabinet for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Blog, family, teen health

Empty your medicine cabinet for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Empty your medicine cabinet for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

The Drug Enforcement Agency is urging Americans to dispose of unused prescription medications at designated drop-off locations on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, October 24, 2020.

That’s because unwanted, unused, and expired medications left in your medicine cabinet can fall into the wrong hands, leading to accidental poisoning, overdose, and misuse.

What is prescription drug misuse?
Misuse occurs when someone uses their own prescription medication improperly, or uses someone else’s medications.

Do Idaho youth misuse prescriptions?
Yes. A 2019 survey of Idaho students1 found that youth began misusing prescription medications as early as 6th grade, although this number was quite low. Of the 10th graders who were surveyed, over 12% reported misusing prescription drugs; that percentage rose to over 18% for 12th graders.

Many of these medications have a high potential for misuse and dependence, and the survey data found that prescription drug misuse is significantly associated with poorer academic achievement.

Where do Idaho youth get prescription medications for misuse?
Idaho students reported that getting prescription drugs for the purpose of misuse was easier than getting tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs. The only substance they found easier to access was alcohol.

They reported often receiving or taking these medications from family or friends, and were most likely to misuse them in their own homes.

Grandparents and other extended family can unknowingly be a source. In fact, Idahoans aged 55-75 receive 75% of prescriptions in the state, so are likely to have several expired or unused pill bottles around the house.

What can you do?

  • Dispose of your unused, unwanted, and expired prescription medications on October 24, 2020 at a location near you:
  • Urge grandparents and other family members to do the same!
  • Talk to your child early and often about the risks of using prescription drugs and other substances. Help them practice healthy strategies to relieve stress, depression, and other concerns.


1. All statistics about Idaho youth in this article are from the Idaho Healthy Youth Survey 2019 State Report.

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