Pontiac, Michigan (PressExposure) July 10, 2009 -- There's a better chance that Grandma is abusing drugs than you think.
It is a sobering fact. Either wittingly or not, about one in 5 seniors over the age of 60 abuse prescription drugs, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A danger to the lives of you and your loved ones might be found in your own medicine cabinet. While you may not realize it? Medicines that have expired can cause sickness, and old drugs that are still good may cause bad reactions if taken with new prescriptions.
When prescription medicines are left unattended or disposed of carelessly they're a danger to everyone, whether it's through accidental ingestion, illegal use, identity theft, or contamination of water supplies. But the public can now safely dispose of expired or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications during Operation Medicine Cabinet, an event designed to educate the public on how proper medicine disposal protects people and pets from accidental ingestion while stopping illegal use of the drugs or identity theft from prescription labels
Event sponsors Sheriff Bouchards Office, in partnership with Home Instead Senior Care are joining SPONSORS: Mercy Hospice, Mejier, Genysis and Smith Disposal and many non-profit and coalition groups, for this one-day public awareness event scheduled for Wednesday, July 15 from 3pm-6pm at the Oakland County Sheriff's Office in Pontiac. Collection of medications during the event will be supervised by the Sheriff's Office.
"It's not just seniors who need to learn about the proper disposal of meds. Many citizens flush their medications down the toilet or down a drain," said Shannon Wygant of Home Instead Senior Care, whose organization provides non-medical, in-home care and companionship for seniors. "Our system is not designed to remove these types of contaminants from our drinking water." A vast array of pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers, and sex hormones, were found in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas, according to a recent Associated Press investigation.
Finally, Wygant stresses that there's no penalty involved with the disposal of expired drugs. "If you have old medications lying in your cabinet, please bring them in. No one's going to arrest you. Rather, we're going to commend you for thinking of your community--and your health."