Posted 6 months ago
By Kevin Horn
The Panhandle Prevention Coalition is joining forces with the US Department of Justice-Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Office of Diversion Control and area law enforcement agencies to hold another National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
This is a great opportunity for those who missed the previous events, or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted, unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs, to safely dispose of those medications.
The collection sites registered for the prescription take back on Saturday, April 26, from 10 am to 2 pm in the Panhandle are: Chadron Walmart (front entrance), Police Department and Cheyenne County Community Center in Sidney and Box Butte General Hospital (Sand Hills Room) in Alliance.
The public can find a nearby collection site by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the “Got Drugs?” icon, and following the links to a database where they enter their zip code. Or they can call 800-882-9539. Only pills and other solids, like patches, can be brought to the collection sites–liquids and needles or other sharps will not be accepted.
The DEA provides the medication collection bins, transports the bins to a DEA approved incinerator, and properly incinerates the medications. Local law enforcement provides the site and volunteers to manage the drop off site. This no-cost collaboration is especially helpful to substance abuse prevention organizations that work on very limited budgets and are looking for sustainable strategies.
According to John Argyle, PhD, PharmD, BCPS, Clinical Pharmacist at Box Butte General Hospital, “More children wind up in emergency departments due to accidental ingestion of prescription medications than from household cleaners. This service is a tremendous benefit to the community by removing old medications that patients no longer need and thus preventing accidental ingestion or diversion. I have been overwhelmed by the response I have seen over the last 4 years.” In the Panhandle, prescription drug use among 11th and 12th grade students over the past 3 years is decreasing according to the Nebraska Risk and Protective Factor Student Survey. It is important that we continue to participate and support these types of prevention efforts to help see these numbers continue to decrease.
The last prescription drug take back initiative in September 2013 included sites in Alliance, Sidney, and Bridgeport collecting more than 7,000 pounds of unused, unwanted, and expired medications in Nebraska.
The public has embraced the opportunity these Take-Back Day events provide to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs. Last October Americans turned in 324 tons (over 647,000 pounds) of prescription drugs. Since DEA’s first event in September 2010, the public has surrendered over 3.4 million pounds of pills.Unused medications in homes create a public health and safety concern, because they are highly susceptible to accidental ingestion, theft, misuse, and abuse.