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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

How many of us are guilty of having old, half-full prescription medicine bottles deep in a cabinet?

Yep. Me too. Even though I’ve worked on clearing out old unused meds from the cabinet, I still have some in there. A couple of prescriptions that didn’t get finished, one or two that were changed, and blam. Medicine that is just sitting there aging.

Even worse, that medicine could potentially put a young person’s life in danger. More and more young people are shopping in their parents’ medicine cabinets for pills to pop.

Did you know that more than 50% of prescription drug abusers 12 and older obtained those prescription drugs from family and friends for free? Further, the number of children under five seen in emergency rooms for medication poisoning related to prescription drug self-exposure has increased dramatically. The good news is that proper disposal of unused drugs is one of the most effective ways to protect your loved ones from misuse.

Please. Lock up medicines that are in use, and safely dispose of those you no longer need.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Foundation (NABP) and their AWARXE Consumer Protection Program want to inform you of the April 26DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

To provide a convenient means of safe drug disposal and help curb abuse, the DEA is hosting a Take-Back Day on April 26, 2014. Consumers can safely and legally dispose of any unneeded medications, anonymously and for free. The event is one of the few days of the year where residents can drop off expired or unused prescription medications without having to wonder whether they will be accepted—even controlled substances, such as ADHD drugs and prescription pain medications, are collected.

And if you miss the day, no worries. Many pharmacies have take-back programs. You simply need to buy an envelope and then use it to mail out your prescriptions. It’s easy and much safer than leaving medicines sitting around. Please don’t just flush meds down the sink or toilet, as you could be contaminating the water table.

Don’t forget! April 26 is National Drug Take-Back Day.