October 24 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

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   The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) hosts a no-questions asked National Prescription Drug Take-Back event twice per year. On this day, collection sites are set up in local cities throughout the nation for safe disposal of prescription drugs, including opioids.

   Opioid abuse in the U.S. remains a top public health concern. Consumers should dispose of expired, unwanted, or unused medicines as quickly as possible to help reduce accidental or intentional overdoses or illegal abuse. The DEA’s “Take Back” initiative is one of several strategies to reduce prescription drug abuse and diversion in the nation.

   Beginning with the October 2019 campaign, DEA started accepted vaping devices and cartridges in addition to medications at all of its drop-off locations. 

   The disposal services are free and anonymous for consumers, with no questions asked.

   DEA began hosting National Prescription Drug Take Back events in 2010. At the Take Back Day in October 2019, over 6,100 sites across the nation collected unwanted or expired medications totaling 882,919 pounds (441.5 tons). The total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA since the fall of 2010 is over 12,000,000 lbs. (over 6300 tons).

   Certain items generally are not accepted on Drug Take Back Day. Check with the collector ahead of time to determine what items are specifically not accepted. Some items that are usually not accepted include: syringes, needles or other sharps; inhalers, such as those for asthma; aerosol cans; mercury thermometers; iodine-containing medications; illegal drugs or substances (including marijuana which is still a schedule 1 drug under federal law); and any prescription medications obtained illegally.

   Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia will offer the public an opportunity to safely dispose of expired, unused or unneeded prescription drugs on Drug Take Back Day. This free event will be held in front of the MRMC Medical Office Building at 1222 Trotwood Avenue in Columbia from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. 

   The event will feature a convenient drive-through disposal process. Social distancing guidelines will be followed with staff members on hand to safely receive items from drivers in their vehicles. The service is free and anonymous with no questions asked.

   “This is an ideal opportunity for members of our community to rid their homes of any medication that is no longer needed in order to prevent those drugs from falling into the wrong hands and causing harm,” said MRMC Security Director Michael Johnson. 

   The upcoming disposal event is for medications in pill or patch form only. The site cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps. Items should be in their original container if possible.