According to the White House Office of Drug Control Policy, a number of national studies specify the intentional abuse of prescription drugs to get high is a growing concern, predominantly among teens. There are serious health risks related to abuse of prescription drugs and we can all do our part to keep prescription medication out of the wrong hands. A single large dose of prescription or over-the-counter painkillers or depressants can cause breathing difficulty that can lead to death. Stimulant abuse can lead to hostility or paranoia, or the potential for heart system failure or fatal seizures. Even in small doses, depressants and painkillers have subtle effects on motor skills, judgment, and ability to learn. Some communities have pharmaceutical take-back programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Where these exist, they are a good way to dispose of unused pharmaceuticals. Right now, there are no such programs in Clinton County. Current Federal Guidelines for safely disposing of prescription medication are as follows: Take unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs out of their original containers and throw them in the trash Mixing prescription drugs with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter, and putting them in impermeable, non-descript containers, such as empty cans or sealable bags; will further ensure the drugs are not diverted Flush prescription drugs down the toilet only if the label or associated patient information specifically instructs doing so. The FDA advises that many drugs be flushed down the toilet instead of thrown in the trash. Some prescription drugs should not be released into a public water system so call your pharmacy to see if this method is appropriate for the medication you no longer need. The Senior Connection is a column provided by the Clinton County Office for the Aging. For more information about services for senior citizens, contact their office at 135 Margaret St., Suite 105, Plattsburgh, or call them at 565-4620.