On Saturday, April 27, the Cartersville Police Department, in conjunction with the DEA, will host the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day event at the Public Safety Headquarters, 195 Cassville Road, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
CPD Public Information Officer Capt. Mark Camp said this is the first of two events this year, with pill drop-offs being hosted in the spring and fall.
“The DEA coordinates the take-backs as a nationwide effort and maintains a list of the participating collection sites,” he said. “After the event, the DEA contacts each participating agency and gets a total weight of the medications collected.”
A booth will be provided for citizens to drop off unused, old or unwanted medications for proper disposal. Items labeled as bio-hazard and items such as needles and syringes will not be accepted.
“This event has been very successful in the past. Last year, approximately 58 pounds of medications were dropped off,” Chief Thomas Culpepper said in a press release.
After the take-back event, Culpepper said the medications received during the event are disposed of in a controlled-burn environment.
Medications are a concern to law enforcement with the possibility of misuse and contamination among them.s
“This is a huge concern for several reasons. First, there is the risk of children finding the medications, taking them and overdosing,” Camp said. “Second, medications flushed down the toilet can enter the water system causing contamination to the environment. Third, if the medications fall into the wrong hands, they may end up being sold illegally.”
Although the take-back is set for later this month, Camp said the department accepts unwanted medication anytime.
“The only restrictions is that we do not take back items such as needles, syringes, lancets or bio-hazardous materials. We then properly dispose of the items on a weekly basis,” he said.
CPD is installing a receptacle by the window in the lobby of the department’s customer service area to accept those medications, according to the press release.
The DEA’s website said proposed legislation could affect the future of take-back events.
“Shortly after DEA’s first Take-Back Day event two years ago, Congress passed, and President Obama signed, the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amended the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), allowing DEA to develop permanent, ongoing, and responsible methods for disposal. Prior to the passage of the Disposal Act, the CSA provided no legal means for transferring possession of controlled substance medications from users to other individuals for disposal. On December 21, 2012, DEA published in the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Disposal of Controlled Substances. These regulations would implement the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-273) by expanding the options available to collect controlled substances from ultimate users for purposes of disposal to include: Take-Back events, mail-back programs, and collection receptacle locations,” according to the website. “However, until these regulations become permanent, DEA will continue to hold Take-Back Days.”
Most drugs can be thrown in the household trash, but consumers should take certain precautions before tossing them out, according to the Food and Drug Administration. A few drugs should be flushed down the toilet.
The federal guidelines for disposing of unused, unwanted or out-of-date medication include:
• Follow any specific disposal instructions on the drug label or patient information that accompanies the medication. Do not flush prescription drugs down the toilet unless this information specifically instructs you to do so.
• Take advantage of community drug take-back programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal.
• If no instructions are given on the drug label and no take-back program is available in your area, throw the drugs in the household trash, but first:
— Take them out of their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter. The medication will be less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through your trash.
— Put them in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the medication from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.
• Before throwing out a medicine container, scratch out all identifying information on the prescription label to make it unreadable. This will help protect your identity and the privacy of your personal health information.
• Do not give medications to friends. Doctors prescribe drugs based on a person’s specific symptoms and medical history. A drug that works for you could be dangerous for someone else.
• When in doubt about proper disposal, talk to your pharmacist.