Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Leftover Prescription Meds Pose Hazards to Utahns

Photo of prescription pill bottles
KUER File Photo

Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in Utah and around the country. But Utahns can reduce the risk of overdose deaths and help protect the environment by disposing of those unused medications Saturday during National Take-Back Day.

“We’ve definitely noticed that there has been a significant increase in prescription drug use across the state,” says Elizabeth Sollis, Communications Director for Utah Department of Human Services. “We’re noticing it in our public substance abuse treatments admissions, and unfortunately the Department of Health has noticed it in unintentional overdose deaths.”

An average of 21 Utah adults died each month in 2012 as a result of prescription pain medications. At the same time, Sollis says almost a quarter of Utahns currently have leftover meds in their home. They can safely dispose of those medications tomorrow at law enforcement approved sites across the state during National Take-Back Day.

“The main intent of the prescription drug take-back day is just to ensure that unused or expired medications are properly disposed of, people aren’t holding on to them, because it can increase the risk of theft in your home, it can increase the risk of addiction, and it can increase the risk of a contaminated water system,” Sollis says.  

For prescription drug take-back locations, visit The website also has information on disposal sites available throughout the year.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.