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National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to keep drugs out of the wrong hands

Published: Oct. 23, 2021 at 6:22 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - October 23 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, a program the Drug Enforcement Administration runs twice per year to make sure unused medication doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

Lexington Medical Center (LMC) participated in the program for the first time Saturday, hosting a drive-thru, anonymous drug take-back event.

According to the Columbia Police Department, studies show that medicines that sit in homes that are unwanted or unused are more likely to be misused or abused.

Pharmacists say pills that are lying around at home can get into the hands of children or other adults to who the pills are not prescribed.

“We’re trying to encourage people in the community to bring back their unused medications, whether they’re expired or recent—just not being used,” said LMC Pharmacy Resident, Brooke.

Pharmacists say it’s important to return your unused or unwanted medication to officials because even pets can get their paws on pills if they’re thrown in the trash. LMC Pharmacy Resident, Hunter, says flushing pills down the drain isn’t a good option, either.

“All of that water eventually goes back into the water treatment facilities, and not all those medications may get filtered out, so we want to make sure that some of these medications that may be hazardous to some don’t get into the stuff that we’re consuming every day,” said Hunter.

If you missed Drug Take Back Day, there are still ways you can safely get rid of medications.

Pharmacists recommend talking to your local pharmacies to see if any offer drug disposal programs or kits. They also suggest talking to local law enforcement to see if they offer programs or asking for more information on legal and safe ways to dispose of medication in your area.

Representatives of Lexington Medical Center say the event Saturday was a success and they hope to host another take-back event in April of 2022.

For more information, visit Take Back Day (dea.gov).

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