BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Saturday was National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. It’s a day dedicated to collecting and safely disposing of any unused, unwanted, or expired medicine.
Several law enforcement offices throughout the state collected unused prescription drugs and properly disposed of them.
“Come up to the department and turn in any unused or unwanted or expired prescription drugs or medication and drop them off no questions asked,” said George French, with the Mountain Brook Police Department.
Drug Take-Back Day is sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to help dispose of prescription drugs properly as well as prevent them from getting into the wrong hands.
“To keep them out of the reach of children or individuals that they are not prescribed to them. We also certainly don’t want them to flush them down the toilet to contaminate the water supply,” said Towanda Thorne-James, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge.
The initiative also opens the door to conversations around addiction. According to the National Drug Institute, almost 10 million Americans had misused prescription medication in 2019.
“A lot of people don’t take the time out to realize that just because I have this in my medicine cabinet it can’t do any harm, but it can do harm. 1 in 4 teens, they are the ones that misuse those prescription drugs at least once in their lifetime,” said Michaela Smith, with the Addiction Prevention Coalition.
Organizations like the Addiction Prevention Coalition are working to help provide resources for those that are dealing with an addiction.
“Even if you are wary of taking that next step just do it because it is important for you, we want to make sure you’re living your healthiest life and that you are taking those next steps to improve yourself and better yourself,” said Smith.
Drug Take-Back Day has removed more than 7,000 tons of medication since 2010. Every year it’s a community effort to help curve the misuse of prescription medication.
“The plan is to continue our national take-back day twice a year, every year and we hope that it will be as successful as it has been in the past, and it will also be an event that the community looks forward to,” said Thorne-James.
Click here for a dropbox for unused prescription medication.