Ditch Your Drugs on October 26 33925

I'm not really referring to illegal drugs--please feel free to ditch those sooner than Saturday!

October 26 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, when you can safely get rid of all of your expired and unused medications by bringing it to a specified location. Just click here to find the collection site that's closest to you, or call 800-882-9539. The meds will be disposed of in a way that's safe and responsible. (Just dumping them in your trash or flushing them isn't good enough. A child or pet could still get to the garbage, and flushing can cause drug residue to get into the water supply.)

It may not seem like such a big deal, but as we reported in our November issue, there's been a 33 percent jump in the number of medication-related poisonings in children ages 5 and younger since 2000, according to a study from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Researchers suspect that this is due in part to the sheer number of medications in our homes. Painkillers like Percocet have caused the most deaths and other severe outcomes. But even if you don't have those in your home, you need to be careful with OTC cough and cold meds, too--those drugs were also found to be a big risk for young children. Remember that no medication is childproof, and what you think is "out of reach" may not be. Always lock up meds of any kind.

So over the next few days, take a look around your bathroom, your bedroom, your purse, your glove compartment--anywhere someone might have stored prescription drugs. (Ask your parents and in-laws to do this, too, as well as caregivers, if your child spends time at her home.) If you're not using them anymore, or they're expired, set them aside and find out where you can drop them off Saturday.