Civitas News Service
Food City and Operation UNITE will partner up this weekend to collect and safely dispose of unwanted or unused medications as part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
On Saturday April 27 six Food City Pharmacy locations in five counties will accept medications from residents between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is no charge for this service.
UNITE Coalition members, along with law enforcement officials, will staff drop-off locations at Food City stores at the following locations:
• 330 North Mayo Trail, Paintsville (Johnson County)
• 2138 South Mayo Trail, Pikeville (Pike County)
• 28093 Thompson Plaza, South Williamson (Pike County)
• 102 North 12th Street, Middlesboro (Bell County)
• 2478 South U.S. Highway 421, Harlan (Harlan County)
• 429 University Drive, Prestonsburg (Floyd County)
Additionally, Kentucky State Police Posts will serve as drop-off locations. Residents of Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, Martin and Pike counties can drop off unwanted medications at Post 9 in Pikeville. Officials say that medication turned in at Food City or other locations will be turned over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for disposal.
Those who are unable to attend Saturday’s event, and still wish to safely dispose of their medications can utilize permanent medication drop boxes placed by Operation UNITE and other agencies in most southern and eastern Kentucky counties. A list of locations is available on the UNITE website.
Since October 1, 2012, UNITE has collected 502 pounds of medications from these drop boxes. In the previous two years, UNITE collected and destroyed 1,024,932 pills through take-back days held across the region.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), medications, mostly prescription drugs, were involved in nearly 60 percent of the 38,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2010, overshadowing those from illicit narcotics.
“A vast majority of teens trying prescription drugs for the first time get them from the family medicine cabinet or from a friend’s home,” said Dan Smoot, vice president of UNITE. “Having unused medications sitting around the home is an invitation to trouble.”
In 2011, more than 4,500 young people a day abused prescription drugs for the first time, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
“Teens believe that just because drugs are prescribed they are safe, but that is true only when taken according to directions and only by the person to whom the drugs were prescribed,” Smoot said. “Aside from the fact that taking or giving away medicine that is not prescribed to you is illegal, even at small doses the potential exists for serious health effects – including death.”
For years, the generally accepted method for disposing of old or left over medications was to flush it down the toilet. This practice, however, has been strongly discouraged because of concerns about potential health and environmental effects of antibiotics, hormones, painkillers, depressants and stimulants making their way into our water system and soil.
National Prescription Drug Take-Back events were initiated by the DEA two years ago to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposal, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of these medications.
To learn more about the DEA Take-Back day visit their website at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/. For information about Operation UNITE visit their website at http://www.operationunite.org.