By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Saturday was National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. It’s a day for Americans to get unwanted and unused medications out of their homes.

“The truth is, they are a risk just simply by being there,” Dr. Robert Bassett said.

The “they” Bassett is talking about is unwanted medications. Bassett is the associate medical director of the Poison Control Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

He says if those unwanted drugs get in the wrong hands, the outcome could be devastating.

“What we know is that over 10 million people will have unintended or intended toxicity related to prescription drugs that are found in the home,” Bassett said.

He says in Philadelphia, last year the Poison Control Center received 10,000 calls after children unintentionally ingested medications.

In Haddon Township, New Jersey, on this National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, they collected unwanted medications for four hours in front of the police department.

These drug takebacks can net huge results. Last year on this day, they collected over 400 tons nationwide.

Bassett says the difference this year is the pandemic. People spending more time at home could result in more accidental misuse of medications.

Bassett says child-safe packaging doesn’t always work.

“The reality is that unfortunately despite our best efforts to prevent childhood poisoning, using things like child protective packaging still, up to maybe 45% to 50% of unintentional pediatric exposures occur from medications that were store in childproof or child-safe packages,” he said.

Bassett says the safest way to get rid of unused medications is to put them in a dropbox. He also says flushing unused drugs could lead to contaminating the water supply.

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