Got old drugs? Give them back on April 29
With an increasing focus on an epidemic of opioid abuse in the United States, the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., may be more critical than ever before.
During the four hours set aside for collection at the more than 5,400 sites set up across the nation last year by the Drug Enforcement Agency, millions of pounds of drugs were collected and destroyed by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
“We’ve been doing this program both years that I’ve been here and I’m sure they were doing it before I came,” said Liberty Police Chief Thomas Claunch.
Claunch was appreciative of the effort on behalf of the DEA. Only Liberty and Cleveland are participating this year.
“This is a program set up by the DEA and we work in conjunction with them,” he said.
Claunch said this program focused on old prescriptions or medications that residents need to dispose of in a safe manner.
“Bring it to us and drop it off and the DEA will pick it up and dispose of it properly,” he said.
The chief said not to flush them down the toilet or disposal in the sink.
“We don’t want them doing that,” he said.
Drugs that are flushed down the toilet can contaminate the water supply, he said. Drugs thrown away in the trash can still be retrieved and abused leading to accidental poisoning, overdose, and even abuse.
According to the DEA website, more than 46,000 Americans die each year from drug-related deaths, with more than half being from heroin and prescription opioids. The abuse of prescription narcotics is second only to the use of marijuana.
“When my mom passed, we had a lot of leftover medications. What do you do with that? You have to dispose of it someway and this is the best way to do that,” he said.
The disposal service is free and anonymous for consumers -- no questions asked. Keep in mind that needles, asthma inhalers and illicit drugs are not accepted at the drop box.
“This is not a gotcha moment,” he said. “You can drive up, drop them in the box and drive off. There’s an employee standing there to receive your drugs and they are thrown in the box and the DEA will pick them up on Monday or Tuesday for disposal.”
The DEA’s “Take-Back” initiative is one of several strategies under the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 to reduce prescription drug abuse.
“We’re not trying to prosecute anyone, that’s not the issue. We just want to see folks get rid of the old drugs,” Claunch said.
The chief said they’ve had a good response for the program.
“We’ll be putting up flyers in local pharmacies in Walgreens, Brookshire Brothers, Walmart, everywhere,” he said, “to remind folks about the drop-off day.”
The DEA site said that the majority of teens abusing prescription drugs get them from family and friends – and the home medicine cabinet.
If there’s no way to attend the drop-off or a program is not available in your area, the DEA suggests:
1. Take the meds out of their bottles;
2. Mix them with something unappealing like used kitty litter or coffee grounds;
3. Seal them in a bag or disposable container and throw that away.
Want to know more about the program? Call the Liberty Police Department at 936-336-5666 or visit the department’s Facebook page by searching for Liberty Police Department.