The Washington Times-Herald

April 26, 2013

Drug ‘take back’ set for Saturday

Lindsay Owens
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — Washington residents can properly dispose of unwanted or expired prescription and non-prescription medication Saturday at Fire Station 1, 200 Harned Ave., during the National Take-Back Initiative. The event will be held from 10 a.m to 2 p.m.

  “It is so important that individuals not discard medicines in the trash which ends up in the county landfill, or down the drain or toilet which can adversely affect the wastewater treatment system,” said Mayor Joe Wellman.

  According to a press release from the U.S Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration, during the last five Take-Back events, over 2 million pounds of prescription medication have been collected nationwide.  Over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, vitamins, pet medication, medicated ointments and lotions, inhalers, liquid medication in leak-proof containers up to 12 ounces and medication samples can all be disposed of at the event.

     Items that cannot be disposed of at the event include infectious waste, hydrogen peroxide, business waste, personal care products such as medicated shampoo, aerosol cans, thermometers, empty containers, needles, lancets, and syringes. 

“This is for the people who don’t have time to drop off medications at the police station and those who just want to make sure things are properly disposed of,” Rainey said.

All medications brought to the event needs to have all personal information, such as name and address removed.

“Washington has always participated in the drug take back event,” said Scott Rainey, stormwater superintendent. “We used to do this twice a year, but since we have a drop-off container in the police station, we have gone to one time a year.”

When medications expire, they lose their effectiveness overtime. The weakened effectiveness can be dangerous if people have certain medical conditions.  Leftover medicine can also be a hazard to children and teens especially because they may not understand the danger of taking medication not prescribed to them.  Recommendations for many types of both over-the-counter and prescription medicines have also changed over time.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2009 16 million Americans age 12 and older had taken prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, or sedatives  for nonmedical purposes at least one time a year prior to being surveyed.

“I ask all citizens to take advantage of Saturday’s drug toss at the fire station,” Wellman said.