How a quick trip to your local pharmacy can help fight drug addiction and overdose.

Do you have a bunch of expired or unused prescription medications scattered throughout your house?

Maybe you toss them in the trash or maybe you just hoard them in an unused drawer. Whatever the case, it's something most of us have done (myself included) at one time or another. Well, as you may have guessed, in some cases, that's not exactly the ideal course of action.

Certain drugs, especially narcotic pain relievers and other controlled substances, can cause major harm to others if not properly disposed. Improperly discarded medications have the potential to be found by people — adults and children — for whom they weren't prescribed, creating the likelihood of abuse, such as addiction or even overdose.


Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images.

In February 2016, Walgreens announced plans to roll out kiosks that will let customers safely discard unused or expired medication. They'll be installing more than 500 kiosks.

Walgreens announced the plan in response to the opioid epidemic and the dramatic increase in deaths related to opioid pain relievers and heroin over the past 16 years. In addition to that, naloxone, an opioid antidote, will be made available in more than 35 states across the country without a prescription.

A safe disposal kiosk is seen here during an event unveiling a multistate program to combat opioid abuse in the U.S. Photo by Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images.

Addressing the epidemic has been a priority for both President Obama and members of Congress.

In February, Representative Robert Dold (R-IL) introduced legislation to combat opioid-related overdose deaths. The bill, part of the larger Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 400 to 5. In July, the bill was signed into law by President Obama. The focus of Rep. Dold's bill is to expand access to naloxone to first responders.

Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL). Photo by Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images.

While there are a number of other places that accept unused prescriptions, such as police and fire departments, putting them in pharmacies make it much more convenient.

"Yes, it's a safe place to bring unused medications," Illinois State Senator Michael Connelly told the Naperville Sun about the rollout at nearby Walgreens Deerfield headquarters. "But more importantly, it's a constant reminder when you come to pick up your prescription that there's a problem out there, and that you, too, have to be involved in safely disposing of medications."

"Across all of America, 47,000 people have died because of drug overdoses, Walgreens Boots Alliance co-COO Alex Gourlay told CBS. "It’s a real issue that we want to play our part in controlling and hoping to solve."

Bottles of prescription medications. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

There are firm steps you can take to reduce the chances of your drugs winding up in the wrong hands — and it's potentially lifesaving.

If you're not sure if there's a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) authorized unused medication drop location near you, you can visit the agency's website or call 1-800-882-9539.

If for some reason you absolutely must dispose of medicine in your household trash, the Federal Drug Administration recommends mixing medicines with "unpalatable substances such as dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds," place the mixture in a sealed plastic bag, and throw the bag in the trash. Some medicines, however, are safe to simply flush down the sink or toilet — you can find a list on the FDA website.

Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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