As the winter snow begins to thaw and temperatures continue to rise, many people take the opportunity to open the windows, clean their homes and declutter their cabinets.
However, community members who plan to clean out their medicine cabinets should be reminded not to throw old, expired medication in the trash or flush them down the toilet.
Fort Drum’s Army Substance Abuse Program, along with the Drug Enforcement Agency, will offer an opportunity to dispose of medications safely from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 26 during National Prescription Take Back Day at the Exchange.
This event is part of the DEA’s national campaign to promote awareness of the hazard of improperly disposing of medications, according to Al Mack, ASAP Prevention Branch chief.
“National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications,” he said. “Expired prescriptions (also) pose a potential hazard since they may lose their effectiveness over time.”
While expired pills and liquids may lose their effectiveness over time, people who continue taking old medicine may not receive the desired effect, which could result in an overdose, Mack added.
“(Also), if you have young children, having old medication lying around can pose a risk,” he said. “When you have old medications and the labels are faded, you may take something just because it looks like some other medication.
“Sometimes old medication can be traded to drug dealers or used to make illegal and unsafe street drugs,” Mack continued. “The campaign also (helps ensure medication) can't be used to make potentially addictive and dangerous street drugs by combining them with other substances.”
A drop box will be set up for people to dispose of all unwanted prescriptions and over-the-counter medication, to include pills, liquids and medicated creams.
While keeping products in the original packaging will help the pharmacist on hand better identify donated medication, people do not have to drop them off in the original packaging or bottle, Mack added.
People may choose to cross out their personal information on the prescription bottle labels or they can remove them once the pharmacist verifies the contents.
Items representatives will not accept include illegal drugs and intravenous solutions, injectables or syringes.
After the event, a DEA agent will then transport all donations in a secure container for safe disposal.
According to the DEA, this is the eighth time the organization has teamed up with local agencies to collect medications. In the previous drop-off opportunities, the DEA and its local partners have collected more than 3.4 million pounds of pills.
For more information about National Prescription Take Back Day, visit www.dea.gov
or call Fort Drum ASAP at 772-5447.