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Source: cincinnati.com

Drop off unused meds this weekend to prevent misuse

BY TERRY DEMIO

Posted: October 21, 2016
Originally Published: October 20, 2016

Do you have prescription bottles with old medicines lingering around your cabinets? Here's a chance to get rid of them properly.

Numerous Cincinnati area communities are participating in National Take-Back Day, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. To find out which of your communities is participating, go to the Drug Enforcement Administration's Drug Take Back Day site and type in your location.

Numerous prevention organizations and law enforcement agencies are asking people to safely dispose of medications at designated locations.

That's because it's so common for teens, and others, to sneak prescription drugs from medicine cabinets or get extra pills from relatives who have a prescription. The 2013 and 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that 50 percent of people who misused prescription painkillers got them from a friend or relative for free.

"One of the most important things parents can do keep their kids from experimenting with drugs is to make them less accessible in their homes," said Bonnie Hedrick, director of childhood and adolescent mental health promotion with the Northern Kentucky Heroin Impact Response Task Force.

For a quick search for drop-off boxes solely in Northern Kentucky, visit drugfreenky.org.

The DEA reported that its last National Drug Take-Back, in April, collected the most drugs yet. That included 36,408 pounds in Ohio and 9,752 pounds in Kentucky. Nationwide, the take-back collection totaled 893,498 pounds, or 447 tons.

The list of communities that participate in the day is ever-growing, say area addiction prevention organizations.

One of the new stops is in Mount Washington, which has created a PreventionFirst Action Coalition and will host a drug drop-off site at the Mount Washington United Methodist Church at 6365 Corbly Road.

“We want the community to know the importance of this easy action step to getting opiates off the streets," said Mount Washington residents and coalition member George Lehocky in a statement.

Law enforcement and prevention groups also want to remind residents that there are dozens of other medication drop-off sites throughout the region, available anytime. Ask your local police for direction, or look for boxes at area pharmacies that accept unused prescription drugs.

"This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” PreventionFirst President and CEO Mary Haag said. “We want the community to know the importance of ... getting opiates and other substances off the streets and out of the environment.”

The Food and Drug Administration recommends using take-back events, such as this weekend's flushing most drugs down the drain, although the agency has a short list of drugs that can be disposed of by flushing down a toilet.

Traces of pharmaceuticals have been found in the drinking water of an estimated 40 million Americans, although FDA officials say most of these traces come from elimination of the drugs through the body's waste systems and not the drugs being flushed down toilets or poured down drains.

The effects of constant, low-level exposure of pharmaceuticals on ecosystems and humans are uncertain, although the Citizens Campaign for the Environment has said “possible health concerns include hormone disruption, antibiotic resistance and synergistic effects.” Antidepressants can alter the behavior and reproductive functions of fish and mollusks, the group says.

PreventionFirst tips for Take-back day:

  • No liquids, needles or sharps accepted.
  • Free and anonymous service. No questions asked.