Drug Take Back Day

The Eufaula Police Department is partnering with Wal-Mart and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 26. This will the public’s 18th opportunity in nine years for the public to help prevent pill abuse and theft by getting rid of potentially dangerous unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs. This nationwide program also helps to keep prescription drugs out of the sewer treatment plants and the waterways when the medication is flushed down the toilet.

The event is scheduled to begin on Oct. 26 at 10 a.m. and continue until 2 p.m. at the Eufaula Wal-Mart located at 3176 South Eufaula Avenue.

The public can drop off expired and unwanted prescriptions, and over the counter medications anonymously with no charge for the disposal of these items. Sites cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps, only pills or patches. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

When medication is left during the take-back event, only the contents of the bottles have to be left, not the bottles themselves. This is how medications can be left and it remains anonymous as to who brought it.

According to the DEA website, last fall Americans turned in nearly 469 tons (more than 937,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at nearly 6,300 sites operated by the DEA and almost 5,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. The April 2019 Take Back Day brought in 937,443 pounds (468.72 tons) of unused or expired prescription medication. This brings the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA since the fall of 2010 to 11,816,393 pounds.

Some might ask why bring in the medications and the answers are simple. It helps prevent accidental overdoses on medication that is no longer being used; it keeps drugs that are not properly disposed of out of the wrong hands; it de-clutters your medicine cabinet; and it is safer for the environment rather than most people’s usual method for disposing of unused medicines -- flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash -- both of which pose potential safety and health hazards.

Every year, billions of dollars’ worth of prescriptions that are prescribed to Americans are dumped down the toilet and make it through sewage treatment plants and into the waterways. When this happens, antibiotic waste becomes a big problem as is creates antibiotic resistant bacteria in fish and wildlife living in the wild.

Birth control pills are especially bad to dispose of down the drain or in a toilet, because studies on the Gulf pipefish have shown that males exposed to estrogen in a lab for just 10 days start to develop some female traits. These male fish are shunned by the females of their breed, even though the altered males could still reproduce.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the Oct. 26 Take Back Day event, go to www.DEATakeBack.com or call 1-800-951-HELP (4357).

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