Prescription drug take-back this Saturday

By Charles Warner cwarner@civitasmedia.com

April 25, 2014

UNION — Anyone with unused, unwanted or expired drugs can turn them in at the Union Public Safety Department Saturday morning for disposal with no questions asked.

The public safety department is taking part in the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s eighth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The one-day event makes it convenient for the public to remove potentially dangerous prescription drugs from their homes. No questions will be asked of anyone who brings in prescription medication for disposal.

The goal of the initiative is to help prevent prescription drug abuse and theft through the safe and proper disposal of unwanted or expired medications. South Carolinians participating in the November 2013 take-back turned in 5,527.18 pounds of unwanted or expired medications at sites set up throughout the state.

The Union Public Safety Department will be one of those sites Saturday, but Public Safety Director Sam White said that his department accepts unwanted or expired medications turned in for disposal throughout the year with no questions asked.

“This is a specific date the DEA has emphasized and we’re participating in it, but we take them for disposal year-round,” White said Thursday. “We do it to keep the drugs out of the trash, out of the landfill and out of the water supply. If not disposed of properly they can be pollution and they can also be life-threatening.”

White said any unwanted or expired medication should not just be thrown out with the trash nor should they be flushed down the toilet. He said that if disposed of in the trash, the medication could be found by someone who might take it with potentially fatal consequences. Flushing it down the toilet could help put it into the water supply which can have a negative impact on the environment.

The only safe way to dispose of unwanted or expired prescription medication is to turn it in to law enforcement which will have it incinerated.

White said that not only does his department accept prescription medication for disposal with no questions asked, but also illegal drugs like marijuana.

“If you have a bag of marijuana, for example, bring it in and we’ll dispose of it,” White said. “No questions will be asked.”

White said that the last time his department took part in the DEA initiative “an entire table full” of prescription medication and other drugs were turned in.

Persons with unwanted or expired prescription medication or other drugs can bring them to the Union Public Safety Department, 215 Thompson Blvd., Union, at the rear of the fire department. White said an officer will be on duty Saturday to accept the items turned in for disposal.

For more information about the drug take-back, both on Saturday and throughout the year, contact the Union Public Safety Department at 864-429-1713.

Also present at the public safety department during the drug take-back will be Starlin Phelps, Prevention Coordinator for the Union County Commission on Alcohol & Drug Abuse.

Phelps said Thursday that she will be there to provide the public with information about the commission and the prevention and treatment services it provides. She said that while many people are aware of the treatment services the commission provides people who are battling substance abuse, it also provides prevention services designed to educate people and help them avoid developing a substance abuse problem.

“Prescription drug abuse is rampant here,” Phelps said. “Not just the older population, but we’re seeing the younger generation as well due to easy accessibility of prescription drugs.”

For more information about the Union County Commission on Alcohol & Drug Abuse call 864-429-1656.