How to Safely Dispose of Unused or Expired Medication

If one of your goals is to get organized and de-clutter your home, be sure you add your medicine cabinet to your list of spaces requiring your attention. If you can’t remember the last time you disposed of any unused or expired medication, it’s time to go through these items to ensure you don’t have any possible hazards lurking in your home.

Prescription medications have a specific shelf life. After a certain point, they will no longer be as effective at treating the condition for which they were prescribed. Everyone has been guilty of not finishing a prescription given to him or her by a doctor, for whatever reason. In some cases, the medication did not provide the expected results or it produced unwanted side effects. In any event, the prescription bottles with the unfinished prescriptions end up in the cabinet. In some cases, they may sit there for years.

Medicine Cabinet Contents Pose a Health Hazard

You may not consider the contents of your medicine cabinet as possibly contributing to drug abuse, but addiction to prescription medication is a growing problem. While it may never occur to you to take a medication that has been prescribed for someone else, a family member may be experimenting with drugs or already have developed a dependency on a particular one.

The best thing you can do is to keep a close eye on the medications you are currently taking and clean out your medicine cabinet to dispose of other drugs safely.

Dispose of Your Unused Medications Properly

• Do not dispose of medications by flushing them down the toilet unless the instructions specifically state that this is the preferred disposal method.
• Contact your local pharmacy or household recycling service to ask about community drug take-back programs in your area. You may be able to bring the unused prescriptions to a central location for proper disposal.
• If there are no community take-back services available, remove the medication from its original container. Mix with used coffee grounds or kitty litter. The idea is to make the pills undesirable to someone who may come across them in your garbage. Place them in a sealed plastic bag or an empty can and then put in a large garbage bag for disposal.

If You Have Questions About Prescription Drug Abuse

Cleaning out your unused or expired medication is the responsible thing to do. If you find that after you have completed this task, you are missing pills from your current prescriptions or other events lead you to believe that you have an addict in the family, don’t wait to get help. Call us at 1-888-997-3006.

Dental Problems May be a Sign of Drug Abuse

Dental-Problems-May-be-a-Sign-of-Drug-AbuseA dentist is an important part of a healthcare team. Often, they are aware of an issue even before a patient knows something is wrong, simply by conducting a thorough examination of someone’s teeth and gums. Prescription medications and illegal drugs can cause tooth decay, and excessive damage may indicate substance abuse and an addict in the family.



Tooth Decay and Illegal Drugs

Regular users of the following illegal drugs may experience the following types of tooth issues:

• Cocaine turns the saliva in the mouth acidic, causing dry mouth and erosion of tooth enamel
• Crack cocaine damages the gums, nerves in the mouth, and tooth enamel
• Heroin users get cravings for sweet foods, which leads to cavities if they neglect regular dental care
• Ecstasy causes dry mouth and teeth grinding
• Methamphetamine use leads to severe tooth damage, known as “meth mouth.” The drug causes severe dry mouth, which results in extreme tooth decay. Meth users compound the damage by grinding their teeth, neglecting to brush and floss their teeth for long periods of time, and binging on sweet foods and drinks.

Dental Problems and Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs can also cause tooth decay from dry mouth. If you or a loved one is taking medication other than as prescribed by a doctor or which have been prescribed for someone else, the risk of tooth damage is quite high. Chronic drug users are also at risk for plaque buildup on teeth, stained teeth (brown or yellow), eroded enamel, and cracks in the teeth.

Find Help for Dental Problems and Drug Addiction

If you are concerned about your own or a loved one’s teeth and think that drug use may have contributed to cavities or other health issues, start by seeing a dentist. Getting professional treatment and receiving information about the risks associated with continuing to use drugs may make an impact. Someone who has experienced tooth decay from drug use needs to seek professional help from a substance abuse treatment program.

Making the choice to enter one of the 90 day rehab programs available means you or your loved one will be able to focus your attention on getting well. Each client gets an individualized treatment program, which may include attending 12 step meetings, individual and group counseling sessions, exercise classes, nutrition courses, group outings, and time for reflection. The treatment process allows each client to learn how to look after him or herself better, including practicing good dental hygiene, in preparation for a sober lifestyle.

The Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Your Teeth

Alcohol abuse is an all-too-common problem in the United States. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, one in four children grows up in a home where someone drinks too much. Most people are familiar with the dangers associated with drinking and driving and can appreciate that being under the influence puts them at risk for being involved in slip and fall accidents, but did you know that alcohol abuse can have an effect on your oral health?

Your dentist will tell you that the amount of alcohol you drink has a bearing on your risk of developing certain types of cancer, as well as your risk of tooth decay and other oral health-related problems.

Dental Problems Caused by Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse can cause the following problems:

• Cavities (due to high sugar content in some alcoholic drinks)
• Erosion of the tooth surface
• Tooth decay
• Cancer of the mouth, larynx, pharynx, and esophagus

The results of a study on a group of clients at an inpatient substance abuse treatment center published in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that 85% of participants had “moderate-to-severe gingival inflammation, and more than two-thirds had a heavy accumulation of dental plaque.” Over three-quarters of participants had cavities, and 15% had missing teeth. This rate was higher than the general population, according to the researchers.

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction to Improve Overall Health

Someone who is struggling with alcohol addiction is dealing with a chronic disease which can lead to serious health consequences if left untreated. An addict is unable to stop drinking on his or her own; the person needs help. The longer the addiction is allowed to continue unchecked, the greater the damage is likely to be. Rather than waiting for an alcoholic to hit his or her “rock bottom,” a family can investigate 90 day rehab programs to find one that can provide detox and counseling services.

This is a serious matter, and there is no advantage to waiting. If you are concerned about a loved one’s drinking and aren’t sure how to bring up the subject, you may want to try to get him or her in to see a dentist for a check-up. It might be a way to start a conversation about the effects of alcohol abuse and oral health. Having the dentist and his or her staff talk about the consequences of drinking on teeth and gums may have more of an impact than a family member trying to broach the subject, and it may make a conversation about getting treatment for alcohol addiction easier.