Most of us don’t think of prescription drugs as being dangerous, as long as we follow our doctor’s orders and take the recommended dosage.
But drugs have a way of accumulating over time because we may not know exactly what to do with the leftovers if our physician switches us to something new or tells us to stop taking a particular medication.
Thus, many people find themselves with at least a few bottles of old pills cluttering their medicine cabinets or stuffed back in a storage cabinet.
If you’re one of those people, there’s an event today designed to get your attention. Several area police departments are partnering with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to properly dispose of unwanted prescription drugs as part of a nationwide drug take-back initiative.
The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications, according to a DEA statement.
With more than 10 Denton County agencies participating, officials hope to not only remove several pounds of drugs from the area, but also keep them out of the water supply.
According to a newsletter put out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, flushing drugs has raised some environmental concerns because trace levels of drug residues have been found in rivers and lakes and in some community drinking water supplies across the United States. However, the newsletter also stated that the main way drug residues enter water systems is by people taking medications.
Nicole Rodriguez, spokeswoman for Carrollton police, said officers will be accepting items from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today in the rear drive of the police station, at 2025 E. Jackson Road.
“You can bring the drugs in their original containers and just drive by and drop them in a disposal box,” Rodriguez said. “They are sealed and delivered to the DEA the same day for destruction.”
Lewisville police are partnering with the Lewisville school district to collect unused medications in the parking lot of Lewisville High School, 1098 W. Main St.
Other participating agencies in the county include The Colony, Roanoke, Little Elm, Flower Mound, Krum, Highland Village and Trophy Club police departments. To find a collection site, call 1-800-882-9539. The program is anonymous and free to the public, officials said.
While the Argyle Police Department is not hosting a take-back event today, Police Chief William Tackett told us, there is a disposal system located in the lobby of the city jail, 506 U.S. Highway 377, which is open to the public Monday through Friday. He said the department collects an average of 50 to 60 pounds of unused medications every three months.
“Each pill that is turned in is one that neither ends up in the water supply nor is diverted from its intended purpose and sold, bought or used by a person that it was not prescribed to,” Tackett said.
Denton police also offer a daily drop-off in their department’s lobby, at 601. E Hickory St. Residents are to leave items in their original containers and block out all personal information.
Items accepted include prescription medications of any kind, over-the-counter medications of any kind, pet medications, as well as vitamin and herbal supplements.
Today’s event is a great way to heighten public awareness about the dangers posed by accumulations of unwanted medications in area homes, and we encourage our readers to participate.
A few minutes is all it will take to clear out the cabinet and put any unwanted items out of harm’s way by disposing of them properly.