Drug Takeback Program Aims to Cut Down on Prescription Drug Dangers

By: Jennifer Rizzi Email
By: Jennifer Rizzi Email

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- You probably have some old prescription bottles cluttering the medicine cabinets in your home. Many people just let them collect dust, but experts say that's a dangerous idea.

"One of the biggest problems that faces our state with drug abuse is the availability of prescription drugs in the home," said Susan Jordan, nursing with the Kanawha-Charleston Department of Health.

Now, a national program is hoping to cut down on that problem. Saturday is National Prescription Drug Takeback Day, and opportunities to dispose of old medication will be available nationally. Lots of those opportunities will be found right here close to home.

To find a list of locations near you, visit: http://www.justice.gov/dea/index.shtml.

West Virginia State Police say the program is a good idea because old drugs at home often wind up in the wrong hands -- accidentally consumed by children or stolen by abusers. That's why they're encouraging people to take advantage of Saturday's program.

"It's a convenient way for people to go reasonably close to their house and get rid of the medication so it can be disposed of in a proper manner," State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous said.

Experts say it's better to let professionals dispose of the medication for the safety of the environment and others. They say some people attempt to flush drugs down the toilet, but that puts them in the water supply.

"Drugs for humans have shown up in aquatic life ... in fish and other invertebrates in the water environment," Anita Ray said with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.

Bill McFarland owns Loop Pharmacy in St. Albans and runs his own drug takeback program all-year-round. Customers drop off their old non-narcotic prescriptions and he sends them away for disposal.

"I think the more we can remove drugs from our community, the safer our community is," he said.

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