ST. GEORGE – Despite the rainy weather, law enforcement officers were in the Smith’s parking lot, located at 20 N. Bluff Street, Saturday providing a means for Washington County residents to safely dispose of their unwanted or expired prescription medications as part of the National Drug Take-Back Day.
After the prescription medications are collected, they are then given to the DEA to be destroyed.
“Even though it hasn’t been as big as some years due to the weather,” Logan Reid, prevention specialist with Southwest Behavioral Medicine said, “we still have managed to gather maybe 30 pounds of pills and we are only at the halfway point.”
The initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.
Prescription drug abuse is becoming an epidemic, according to the Southwest Prevention website, largely due to the sheer volume of prescription drugs floating around. Almost 75 percent of kids who abuse prescription drugs, get them from their own home or that of a friend, according to the site.
“In addition, every year more than 71,000 children end up in the emergency room from unintentional medicine overdoses,” the site said. “We can curb these problems by getting rid of unused or expired medications.”
To prevent ground water contamination and environmental poisoning, people are discouraged from flushing their prescription drugs down the toilet.
Additional drug disposal instructions and information
- Never flush drugs down the toilet unless the label on the prescription directs you to do so. Click here for a list of Flushable Medications.
- Pharmacy take back: Many pharmacies have a ‘Take-Back Program’ allowing you to drop off your unused or expired medications. Check with your local pharmacist to see if this is an option. For example, Rite Aid has bags that can be purchased for $4 that customers can place their meds in and then mail directly to the incinerator.
- Drop boxes: Some communities have a drop box where you can leave your medications, no-questions-asked. Currently, the only boxes existing in the region are at the Washington County Sheriff’s department, the Hurricane City Police Department, the Washington City Police Department and the Cedar City Police Department.
The next Prescription Drug Take Back will also take place in the Smith’s parking lot in St. George on Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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