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Editorial: Get rid of those old drugs

With prescription drug abuse and misuse rising, having a place to safely dispose of old prescription drugs is good for families and the community as a whole.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has said previously that more than 7 million people abuse prescription drugs in the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that three out of four people who misuse prescription painkillers use drugs prescribed to someone else. Additionally, about 55 percent of those who abuse pills get them from a friend or relative.

The growing trend of prescription drug abuse is one of the main reasons why it is good to have places where residents can dispose of their old prescription medications safely.

Recently, the Maryland State Police barrack in Westminster was added as a place where people can drop off old medications.

That location joins the Westminster City Police Department, Taneytown Police Department, Sykesville Police Department and Carroll County sheriff's satellite office in Greenmount as locations where people can get rid of prescriptions they no longer need.

Getting rid of old prescription drugs can be a problem.

Flushing them down the toilet is dangerous because the medications can get into the water systems. Throwing them in the trash can also be problematic unless they are mixed with something, such as kitty litter or coffee grounds, which make them undesirable.

But keeping those old prescriptions around the house is an open invitation for abuse.

In addition to the drop-off sites, many police departments, local governments and agencies have held specific drop-off events at times throughout the year where people can dispose of old prescription drugs.

Prescription drug abuse is a problem that has been growing in recent years. And with more and more people being prescribed medications, access for those intent on abusing drugs has become far easier.

With spring arriving, it is a good time to clean out the medicine cabinet, take advantage of the drop-off sites around the county and get rid of old medications.

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