Local agencies to collect unwanted prescription drugs Saturday

No liquids or syringes
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Local agencies will be part of a nationwide event to collect unwanted, unneeded or unused prescription medication on Saturday.

Unwanted, unused or expired prescription medication will be accepted at law enforcement agencies statewide on Saturday, Oct. 23 for National Drug Take-Back Day.

Over 4,000 local drop-off sites nationwide will collect unneeded medication for the 21st Annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. said the Drug Enforcement Administration. It said the event offers free and anonymous disposal of unneeded, unused or unwanted medication.

A report from the Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administration indicates a majority of those who misused prescription drugs obtained the medicine from a family member or friend. In 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said over 93,000 people died of drug overdoses in the U.S., the largest number of drug-related deaths ever recorded in a single year.

The CDC said opioid deaths accounted for 75% of all overdose deaths in 2020.

“The United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic—drug overdoses are up 30% over the last year alone and taking more than 250 lives every day,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “The majority of opioid addictions in America start with prescription pills found in medicine cabinets at home. What’s worse, criminal drug networks are exploiting the opioid crisis by making and falsely marketing deadly, fake pills as legitimate prescriptions, which are now flooding U.S. communities. One thing is clear: prevention starts at home. I urge Americans to do their part to prevent prescription pill misuse: simply take your unneeded medications to a local collection site. It’s simple, free, anonymous, and it can save a life.”

For over a decade, the DEA said its National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day has helped residents easily rid their homes of unneeded medication - those that are old, unwanted or no longer needed - that too often become a gateway to addiction. Working in close partnership with local law enforcement, the DEA said it has removed over 7,000 tons of medication from circulation since it began. The efforts are directly in line with its priority to fight the rise of overdoses plaguing the U.S.

“We encourage everyone to find their local drop-off site and get rid of their unused and expired prescriptions,” said Diversion Program Manager Inez Davis, DEA lead for the Take Back Day event in the states of Missouri and Kansas, and southern Illinois. “The more we get people to turn these drugs in, the more we’re sure they are being disposed of correctly. The best way to make a dent in the opioid crisis and keep communities safer is to make sure the avenues to misuse dangerous medications are removed.”

In 2021, the DEA said the event is more important than ever before. In September, the agency issued a Public Safety Alert and launched the One Pill Can Kill public awareness campaign to warn residents of the surge in deadly, fake prescription pills driven by drug traffickers exploring the opioid epidemic. It said criminal drug networks ship chemicals from China to Mexico where they are made into dangerous substances like fentanyl and methamphetamine and then pressed into pills.

“Unused medications are dangerous for kids, pets and the environment,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said. “Diversion of opioid painkillers, in particular, can contribute to the misuse of these drugs that has become a serious nationwide problem. Getting leftover medicines out of the medicine cabinets and safely destroyed keeps them from falling into the wrong hands and makes our communities safer.”

The DEA said the end results, the deadly, fake pills, are what criminal drug networks use to market and prey on Americans for profit. It said the pills are widely available and deadlier than ever. Fake pills are meant to appear almost identical to legitimate prescriptions like Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Xanax and other medicines. It said criminal drug networks sell the pills through social media, e-commerce, the dark web and existing distribution networks.

Along with the alert, the DEA said came a warning that the only safe medications are those prescribed by a trusted medical professional and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist. Any pills that do not meet the standard are unsafe and could be deadly. The event reflects its commitment to the safety and health of residents and encourages the public to remove unneeded medication form their homes as a prevention measure.

On Saturday, the DEA said partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms of prescription drugs. It said liquids, including intravenous solutions, syringes and other sharps, and illegal drugs will not be accepted. It also said it will continue to accept vaping devices and cartridges as long as the lithium batteries are removed.

The following locations will be collecting unwanted medication:

  • Brown County Sheriff’s Office - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 709 Utah St., Hiawatha
  • Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 111 E. 11th St., Lawrence
  • Douglas County Courthouse - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 1100 Massachusetts St., Lawrence
  • Burlington Police Department - Anytime, 625 N. 3rd St., Burlington
  • Coffey Co. Sheriff’s Office - Anytime, 605 Neosho St., Burlington
  • Pottawatomie Co. Sheriff’s Office - 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., 108 N. 1st St., Westmoreland

To find other locations near you, click HERE or HERE.

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