Health care professionals are warning residents about the dangers of keeping unneeded prescription drugs in the home.

" /> Doctors Urge Residents to Dispose of Unneeded Prescription Drugs | News | Mississippi Public Broadcasting
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Doctors Urge Residents to Dispose of Unneeded Prescription Drugs

By Daniel Cherry | Published 11 Nov 2011 06:41pm | comments

Prescription drugs are more often abused and more dangerous than any other drugs. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how health care professionals are asking Mississippians to get rid of their stash.

A recent study shows prescription drugs were involved in more than 20 thousand overdose deaths in 2008, more than half of the total overdose fatalities that year. Dr. Howard Mell is with the American College of Emergency Physicians. He says it's a problem growing faster than most people realize.

"The big issue is that prescription drug use is enormously a problem for the country. We actually see more emergency department visits due to the abuse of prescription drugs than due to the abuse of heroin and cocaine combined."

The Drug Information Center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center is bustling with action.

Here specialists handle drugs that can save lives, but if not used correctly, the results aren't always positive.

Dr. Richard Ogletree, the Coordinator of the Drug Information Center.

"Teenagers finding pain medications in the cabinets are taking these to school and selling them sometimes, using them sometimes. Prescription medications are some of the most dangerous poisons that we have in this country right now."

Ogletree says unused or expired drugs can have serious health repercussions if abused. That's why health professionals are urging residents to properly dispose of their prescriptions.

"Probably put it in something like coffee grounds. Put it in some cat litter. Something that's not very desirable for people or for animals and will also mask the smell."

Other options include some pharmacies where residents can drop off their drugs.

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