There's No Such Thing as Safe Leftovers

There's No Such Thing as Safe Leftovers

The Problem

Did you know 7,000 opioid prescriptions are written every day in Utah? (*1) Or that 59% of Utah adults report having leftover pain medication? Two-thirds of those opioid pills are reported to be somewhat or very accessible. (*2)

Utah’s abundance of prescription opioids has created a huge substance abuse problem. The more opioids left in medicine cabinets, the more opportunity for abuse. And in Utah, 74% of those who misuse or abuse prescription pain medications get them from friends or family members, either with or without their knowledge. (*3)

Safe disposal of medication saves the environment and lives. In Utah, more deaths are caused by prescription drug overdose than by car accidents (*4); and since 2000, the number of deaths due to unintentional overdose of prescription pain medication has increased over 400%. (*5) The need to dispose of leftover prescription opioid medication safely has never been greater.

What You Can Do

It’s never been more convenient to dispose of old medications swiftly and safely, with over 100 convenient, permanent medication drop boxes available statewide. You’ll find drop boxes at places like law enforcement agencies, 22 Intermountain Community Pharmacies, and at 10 University of Utah Pharmacies. To find the drop box closest to you, visit

  1. *Utah Department of Health, Violence & Injury Prevention Program, Center for Health Data & Informatics, “Prescribing Practice in Utah 2002-2015.”
  2. *Dan Jones & Associates, Use Only As Directed Annual Awareness Study, 2014.
  3. *Utah Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data.
  4. *Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [Online]. (2012-2014). National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC (producer). [cited 2016 January].
  5. *Utah Violent Death Reporting System data & Utah Department of Health, Violence & Injury Program, Prescription Medication Program Database.