Although drug crimes are often associated with illegal narcotics such as cocaine or marijuana, prescription drug abuse is actually the “fastest-growing drug problem” in the United States, according to the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy. In many cases legally obtained prescription drugs are illegally resold or distributed to others. This is why it is important for all Houston-area residents to understand the legal options available for disposing of their unused and expired prescription drugs.
Take-Back Events, FDA Guidelines Provide Help With Drug Disposal
October 22 was the most recent National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. This is a program sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Houston-area law enforcement that encourages individuals to return their unneeded prescription drugs to local police departments, malls, and other designated collection centers. These events occur at least twice a year and anyone may bring in drugs “no questions asked.”
During its May 2016 take-back day, the DEA said nearly 900,000 pounds of prescription drugs were returned and disposed of safely.
Outside of these take-back events, there are multiple options available if you need to dispose of prescription drugs:
- The DEA maintains an searchable online database of public disposal locations throughout the country. You can also call the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control directly at 1-800-882-9539 to find your nearest authorized collection center.
- If you are unable to find or travel to a collection center, you can dispose of many common prescription medications by simply throwing them into the trash, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. You should check with your waste management company or local law enforcement, however, to make sure this is legal in your neighborhood.
- The FDA also warns that some “especially harmful” drugs should be flushed down the sink or toilet, as there is a risk of accidental ingestion by a child or pet who finds the medication in the trash. If you have any of the prescription drugs on the FDA’s list of harmful drugs, do not dispose of them in the trash. Either flush such drugs or bring them to an approved collection center.
Do Not Sell or Illegally Dispose of Prescription Drugs in Galveston
Under no circumstances should you ever sell or give your unused prescription drugs to anyone else. This is considered illegal drug trafficking under federal law. It does not matter if money does not change hands. The bottom line is that only a licensed doctor or pharmacist can provide prescription drugs.
If you do find yourself in legal trouble due to the alleged improper disposal of prescription medications, you need to speak with an experienced Houston prescription drug attorney as soon as possible. Contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates in League City if you need immediate legal assistance.