In early 2019, Google reported that searches for “medication disposal near me” reached an all-time high in January. This represents a spike in public awareness about the dangers of leftover, unused medications that, in many cases, are addictive and even deadly.
While that’s good news, more works still needs to be done to raise awareness.
In an effort to pick-up some of that slack, Google Maps just launched a pilot program to help people dispose of their leftover medications.
“Today, we’re making it easier for Americans to quickly find disposal locations on Google Maps and Search all year round,” writes VP of Product Dane Glasglow in a blog post.
“A search for queries like ‘drug drop off near me‘ or ‘medication disposal near me‘ will display permanent disposal locations at your local pharmacy, hospital or government building so you can quickly and safely discard your unneeded medication.”
Among the odd antibiotics, blood pressure prescriptions, antidepressants, ointments or whatever else is taking up space in a person’s medicine cabinet, there is also often highly addictive narcotic painkillers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 191 million opioid prescriptions were written in 2017 alone and that’s a decrease from previous years.
There are untold numbers of unused, leftover prescription opioids in people’s medicine cabinets and the consequences are dire.
Consider that more than 130 people die each day because of the opioid epidemic. The way that half of users get their hands on the drugs might surprise some people.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that more than 50 percent of people misusing prescription painkillers, drugs like OxyContin, hydrocodone, Percocet and Vicodin, get them from friends or family.
It is not an overstatement to say that people are dying because of leftover medications.
It’s Important to Dispose of Old Medication
A 2016 survey found that 66 percent of Americans keep their leftover medications, including addictive prescription painkillers, after they’ve stopped using them.
Researchers also found some of the following:
- 79 percent of people surveyed did not keep their leftover medications in a secure or locked location, unwittingly leaving medications accessible to children or young adults
- Of the 66 percent of people that keep their unused medications, 23 percent admit to sharing their prescriptions, a majority of them saying it was to help friends or family manage pain
- Unfortunately, 14 percent of people who said they shared their meds also added they’d probably continue to share with family and 8 percent said they’re share pills with friends
Expired Medication Disposal
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) hosts two National Drug Take Back Days, one in April and another in October.
In 2018, the agency recovered more than 4,500 tons of leftover prescription medications. Find the next National Drug Take Back Day.
While these events haul in an impressive number of leftover medications, it hardly puts a dent in the drugs that are still floating around people’s medicine cabinets.
Google Maps’ new initiative, however, will do a lot to make proper drug disposal more of a mainstream, social habit, and the company is working with the DEA to expand the number of available locations.
To get the most out of the new Google Maps medication disposal initiative search for the following:
- Medication Disposal Near Me
- Drug Disposal Near Me
- Drug Drop Off Near Me
- Walgreens Medication Disposal
- Medication Disposal CVS
The best time to properly and safely get rid of leftover medication is as soon as possible and, now, all it takes is entering “medication disposal near me” in Google Maps.