UNION — As it has in years past, the Union Public Safety Department will be one of the collection sites for the public to safely dispose of unused and unwanted prescription medication with no question asked during this Saturday’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
In a statement released this week, the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina in Columbia announced that US Attorney Beth Drake will join the DEA this Saturday (Oct. 28) for its 14th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The press release states that the biannual event will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at thousands of collection sites around the country, including over 65 locations across South Carolina. The event is an effort to rid homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
The press release issued by the US Attorney’s states that last April, Americans turned in 450 tons (900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 13 previous Take Back events, the press release states the DEA and its partners have taken in more than 8.1 million pounds — more than 4,050 tons — of pills. The disposal service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
However, the press release states the DEA cannot accept liquids, needles, or sharps, only pills or patches.
Local Collection Site
One of those 65 collection sites in South Carolina will be the Union Public Safety Department at 215 Thomson Boulevard, Union.
Persons who want to dispose of their expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs may drop them into the collection unit in the foyer of the Public Safety station. While it will be serving as the local collection point for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, the collection unit is always available for the disposal of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs with no questions asked.
The collection unit, however, is only for the medication and the containers they come in. The collection unit cannot accept needles/syringes; diabetic testing kits including insulin, insulin injectors, syringes, and test strips; inhalers and inhaler refills; liquids, lotions or ointments of any kind; and medication from any clinic or business.
Prescription Drug Abuse
The press release states that the rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 91 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose. Some painkiller abusers move on to heroin: Four out of five new heroin users started with painkillers.
The press release states that flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them in the trash pose potential safety and health hazards. It states that National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses the public safety and public health issues that surround medications languishing in home cabinets, becoming highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.