Drug take-back event set for Saturday

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Instead of flushing or throwing out, residents will have the opportunity this weekend to safely get rid of unused and unwanted medications.

Communicare will have a drug take-back day Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its facility on Highway 7 South. It’s the 11th drug take-back event sponsored in part by the Drug Enforcement Agency, and it will be one of the biggest Communicare has ever participated in.

Melody Madaris, director of substance abuse services with Communicare, said the event helps people dispose of drugs they are just holding on to in their medicine cabinets.

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“This reduces the likelihood of people, namely youth and young adults, stealing them from their family member’s medicine cabinet, which in turn, reduces the number of drugs that could potentially be sold on the streets,” Madaris said. “What research tells us is that teenagers and college-aged youth obtain opioids, stimulants and benzodiazepines from their family, without their family knowing.”

When someone has a small surgery, they often take less than what’s prescribed. Those pills are easily swallowed or sold by other family members or visitors to fuel an addiction.

Madaris said organizers hope to make the take-back event annual with the help of an mPACC grant and the currently forming drug-free coalition for Lafayette County.

“We would love to have hundreds of people come to this event,” she said. “According to the DEA, last September there were 350 tons of drugs destroyed across the county.”

The DEA will take all the drugs brought in to Communicare and destroy them. Their methods of destruction are safer for the environment than if a resident simply trashes a pill.

“Medications are often considered hazardous chemicals,” Madaris said. “If you throw them often, it could end up on the streets or in a landfill. Very small doses can be fatal to the wildlife living in our area. If you flush them there is potential that it will end up in our water systems without proper filtration. Again, this is dangerous to our environment as it could poison plants and fish that other wildlife eat in turn poisoning them as well.

“The FDA and the DEA both recommend the best way to get rid of medication is to bring it to a drug take-back event.”