I’m a hoarder. I’ve accepted it, I’ve admitted it and I’m working to remedy it. In going through tons of stuff, I realized I’ve got medications that are older than my daughter. My 8 year old daughter. Sigh.
I’m not a gross kind of hoarder; I don’t collect trash and my house isn’t covered in piles of cat doodie. You can walk through every room in the house, although some require a little more effort than others (cough cough laundry room). I’m a “I might need this in the apocalypse” type of hoarder. I’m a “I don’t want to have to spend another $2 on a replacement if I happen to need this in 10 years” type of hoarder. And I’m also apparently a “I’ll just keep using this medicine until it literally turns to dust in the bottle” type of hoarder.
My husband , also a hoarder in his own right, constantly gives me crap about taking old meds. Say, for example, my muscle relaxers that I got the first time I threw my back out in 2011. They only expired 4 years ago. I keep those around because my back is now prone to leaving me…prone. Ha. I’m hilarious.
Specifically related to medication, I’m a “I can’t throw these away because we paid for it and I’m sure that if we don’t use it there must be someone else who needs it.” I’ve got 6 bottles of meds that we tried with my daughter for her ADHD before settling on her current prescription. There are at least 10 bottles of meds that I tried for my anxiety and depression before FINALLY discovering a combination that works. Scrips are typically filled for 30 days and it tends to take anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks before you can cross one off the list as a no go. So it’s safe to assume we have a buttload of mostly full bottles of prescription medication.
I’ve said, “Ahhh, it’s fine” to expired meds waaaay more times than I can recall. I’ve always thought that as long as it wasn’t actually falling apart or a weird color or funky smelling that it must be fine. I knew that some medications lost efficacy as they aged, but something is better than nothing in an emergency, right? Besides, properly disposing of unused medication is a hassle. So the collection continued to grow.
Until today, I thought my choices were to flush or throw away unwanted or expired drugs. I thought the flushing method probably wasn’t such a good idea and it turns out that I was right. The FDA provides a list of drugs deemed acceptable to flush, but the chemicals and hormones in medicines can get into the water supply pretty easily that way.
Then again, just tossing them in the trash seems really irresponsible. According to some sources, the best way to go about throwing your old medication away is to mix the intact pills or tablets in a ziploc (or other sealable bag) with cat litter, dirt or coffee grounds. It seems that isn’t a very good way either, as dogs or junkies aren’t likely to be deterred by a few coffee grounds. This website alleges that the one and only way to properly dispose of meds is during a medicine take back program.
That’s a thing! That’s a thing that happens, apparently. The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is coming up on October 22nd this year. Check out this page to find the one closest to you.
Now I’ve got my work cut out for me here. October 22nd is only a week away and I’m not only a hoarder, I’m a procrastinator. 🙂 I really do have to get on the ball though. Because after I clean out my drawer seen above, I’ve got this drawer to tackle as well. Sigh again.