Until recently, the only approved way to dispose of expired or leftover opioid painkillers, such as Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin, was to flush them down the toilet or wait for a drug take-back day nearby. And many of us didn’t bother to throw away the drugs at all.
But because of new rules from the Drug Enforcement Administration, you can now take those medications and others to disposal drop-off spots at pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and long-term-care centers any time of the year, no appointment needed. (Believe it or not, it used to be illegal for those places to accept unused narcotic drugs.)
Those potent pain relievers—including drugs like codeine, fentanyl (Duragesic and generic), hydrocodone (Vicodin and generic), meperidine (Demerol and generic), morphine, and oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet, and generic)—might otherwise be left in medicine cabinets, where they could be misused (or abused) by household members or taken accidentally. In fact, this sort of overuse and abuse of these drugs contributes to more than 420,000 visits to emergency rooms each year and almost 16,000 deaths, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Source: Consumer Reports