It's also important for parents to get rid of extra medications so that there are not numerous prescription drugs hanging around the house, says Dr. William Shrank, a professor of medicine at Harvard University.
"There's growing evidence that more and more teens are getting hooked on the prescription drugs that they can get in their own medicine cabinet or those of family members, and this study further highlights how keeping these unused medication around can be dangerous for younger kids as well," he says.
Millions of pounds of prescription medications go unused every year in the U.S., according to the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. While most people leave these extra pill bottles in the back of the medicine cabinet, they should be bringing back unused pills to their doctors, to pharmacists or to established Prescription Drug Take-Back days sponsored biannually by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
Pills should not be flushed, as is often depicted in movies, because they can contaminate the water supply.