Get rid of unused drugs during take-back event

Doing some spring cleaning this weekend? Don’t forget your medicine cabinet, officials advise.

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Campaign is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at roughly 4,000 drop-off locations across the nation, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

It’s a chance to dispose of old, expired and unneeded medications that might be lingering around the house. It keeps them out of the wrong hands, away from children and doesn’t pose a potential risk of making it into waterways, as flushing them down the drain or toilet might.

Take Back Day is also free and can be done anonymously — just bring them to the designated sites and they’re out of your life.

Since its inception more than a decade ago, Take Back Day has removed 8,950 tons of medication from circulation, according to the DEA.

There are some rules on what can be discarded. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs in tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms are allowed. Liquid products, such as cough syrup, will be taken as well if they remain in their original container, with the cap on tightly to prevent leakage.

Syringes, sharps and illicit drugs will not be accepted. Neither will vitamin/supplements or personal care products such as hand sanitizers, shampoos, soaps, lotions, sunscreens, etc. No vapes or recreational marijuana products, either.

For more information on Take Back Day, go to www.DEATakeBack.com.

Unused or expired prescription medications are a public-safety issue, leading to accidental poisoning, overdose and abuse, according to the DEA.

Pharmaceutical drugs are just as dangerous as street drugs when taken without a prescription or a doctor’s supervision, the DEA advised in a news release, adding that the majority of those abusing prescription drugs get them from family and friends, or the home medicine cabinet.

Unused prescription drugs thrown in the trash can be retrieved and abused, or illegally sold. They also can contaminate groundwater or soil. Unused drugs that are flushed can contaminate the water supply. Proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment, according to the DEA and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, or EGLE.

For more information on drug treatment and prevention, go to Michigan.gov/Opioids. To find additional, year-round drop-off locations that accept other medications, supplements, needles/sharps and more, go to Michigan.gov/EGLEDrugDisposal and search EGLE’s Household Drug Take Back Web Map. EGLE’s map is easy to use and available all year round — enter a zip code in the upper left corner, and the map will show nearby collections, plus provide details on what materials are accepted.


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