The St. Joseph community will team up with law enforcement this month for an event hosted by the Drug Enforcement Administration to provide a safe means of disposing of medications, while also educating the public about prescription drug abuse.
The St. Joseph Police Department is hosting a collection site for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The site will take place at East Hills Shopping Center for anyone that needs to get rid of unused or expired medications.
“Those take back days are only twice a year so definitely take advantage of them if you can,” said Juliemarie Nickelson, a pharmacist with Rogers Pharmacy.
The police department will collect the prescription medications and send it off to the DEA where they will properly dispose of the drugs.
If an individual cannot attend this event, the DEA asks users to dispose of their own medications responsibly and safely.
Pharmacist Kim Nolte with Apothecary Pharmacy recommends mixing tablets in a ziplock bag with either coffee grounds, kitty litter, or something else that someone wouldn’t mess with in the trash. For those who use syringes, Nolte suggests snapping the end of it so the needle cannot be reused. The DEA said proper disposal of prescriptions will help reduce drug abuse in the area.
“Definitely do not flush it down the toilet because then it gets in the water stream and the filtering systems don’t really work very well as far as taking the drugs out,” Nickelson said. “It can end up increasing the levels and exposing everybody to it. Even in trace amounts, it’s not good for the environment either.”
Nickelson said no pharmacy in St. Joseph currently accepts unused medications so the individual has to take responsibility in disposing of their prescriptions. However, the Missouri Board of Pharmacy is working on setting up a program.
For more information on National Rx Drugs Take Back Day visit the DEA’s website.