On Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., local law-enforcement agencies will be partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
“It’s a completely anonymous way of properly disposing of unwanted, unused, expired medications, whether it’s over-the-counter or prescription, in a safe and controlled environment,” explained South Bethany Police Department Cpl. Mark Burton, whose department is participating in the take-back.
This will be the second take-back in which the South Bethany department has participated, with their first having been just this past April, when they collected 20 pounds of pills.
“It’s not a great number, but it’s better than nothing,” said Burton. “If we get 20 pounds again, that would be a success for us. There aren’t places you can safely get rid of these unused prescriptions. We do not want them to be flushed down the toilets and getting into our groundwater. We want to provide this to the community as a safe place to get rid of them.”
In April, people across the U.S. turned in 276 tons of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,659 take-back sites throughout the nation.
“We cannot take syringes, and we cannot take aerosols. Everything and anything else we will take,” said Burton. “Whether it’s expired vitamins, whether it’s aspirin, whatever — if you don’t want it and you want to get rid of it, bring it to the Take-Back.”
Burton said that it does not matter how the drugs are brought to the take-back, or how much is disposed of.
“We’ve had it in the past where people have collected for their neighborhood and brought in a box. We don’t care how it gets here. It doesn’t matter if it’s in original containers, if it’s in a plastic bag. This is a no-questions-asked policy.”
Burton added that, if residents cannot make it to the Saturday take-back, they can store their old medications until another take-back is held.
“They can hold on until next time. Right now, they’re in the process of changing the law so that police departments can take it in year-round,” he said. “If they wish to get rid of their medications while the take-back is not in effect — because it’s only twice a year right now — what we suggest is mix it in with used coffee grounds or used kitty litter. That way, nobody is going to want to go through that to get the pills or whatever the substance is. Do not flush it down the toilet. Do not flush it down the sick. Do not throw it in the trash.”
Burton said turning in unused medications is important, as prescription drug abuse is on the rise, and it will help keep people and their homes safe.
“Prescription drugs are rapidly on the rise as the most abused form of drugs. If people don’t want it in their medicine cabinets and we can get it off the streets, we can destroy it in a safe and controlled way, it can’t be used. The more we take off the streets, in an appropriate manner, the better it’s going to be.”
Aside from the South Bethany Police Department, residents can turn in medications at the Ocean View Police Department, Dagsboro Police Department, Selbyville Police Department and Delaware State Police Troop 4 in Georgetown.
For more information and the location of a nearby take-back site, visit www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback or call (800) 882-9539.