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This Weekend, a Safe Way to Dispose of Unwanted, Unused Meds

PHOTO: As Earth Week wraps up, people are encouraged to turn in expired and unwanted medications for safe and proper disposal on Saturday, which is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Photo credit: Jane M Sawyer.
PHOTO: As Earth Week wraps up, people are encouraged to turn in expired and unwanted medications for safe and proper disposal on Saturday, which is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Photo credit: Jane M Sawyer.
April 25, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS – Many people have medications in their homes that are either expired or unused, and state leaders want to ensure they don't get into the wrong hands.

Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, and Indiana's Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force will be collecting unwanted medications to prevent their abuse and theft.

As a longtime investigator, Tom McKay with the Dearborn County prosecutor's office says Drug Take-Back Day is an important initiative.

"It gets a lot of drugs out of the system that, quite frankly, our children get access to by getting them out of the medicine cabinet, or picking them up out of mom's purse or whatever,” he says. “It gets it off the street and gets it into a system where it can be destroyed or disposed of properly."

On Saturday, law enforcement officials will collect unused medications, including controlled substances, with no questions asked.

Drugs can be dropped off at most State Police posts, and also at the Earth Day Indiana Festival at White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis.

McKay says flushing unused medications down the toilet or throwing them in a trash can pose potential safety and health hazards to the public and the environment.

And while Earth Week provides a good opportunity for collection events, he points out that law enforcement in most counties and cities have prescription take-back programs available throughout the year.

"And then the drugs that are taken in are taken in by a police officer,” he explains. “They're put into a container that's then collected and disposed of, by either the State Police or the DEA."

At a Drug-Take Back event last fall, the Indiana State Police collected more than 1,400 pounds of unwanted medications.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN