You can easily dispose of your unused, expired medications at ‘Prescription Drug Take-Back Day’ events

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Smith’s Food & Drug Stores will host drug take-back events at two locations in St. George and Cedar City from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday as part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The event provides a safe, convenient and anonymous way for customers to dispose of unused or expired prescriptions drugs.

Prescription Drug Take Back Day event in Cedar City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the Iron County Prevention Coalition, St. George News / Cedar City News

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem. Most individuals who misuse prescription drugs, particularly teens, believe that these substances are safer than illicit drugs because they are prescribed by a healthcare professional and dispensed by a pharmacist. The first step in attempting to tackle the problem of prescription drug abuse is to educate parents, youth, and patients about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs.

Drug disposal programs such as the ones taking place Saturday are a good way to remove expired, unwanted or unused medicines from the home and reduce the chance that someone may accidentally or intentionally take the medicine.

Participating Smith’s Food & Drug locations in Southern Utah include the following:

  • 20 N. Bluff St. in St. George.
  • 633 S. Main St. in Cedar City.

Local law enforcement officers will be onsite to help participants securely dispose of their medications. Smith’s pharmacy associates will offer free DisposeRx® at-home medication disposal packets and will share educational resources.

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 53 percent of those who misused prescription pain medications obtained them from a friend or relative.

“The April 27 take-back event, which provides a safe and convenient way for our customers to dispose of their unused or expired medications, is just one step of our comprehensive commitment to help the communities we call home combat the opioid epidemic,” Aubriana Martindale, Smith’s corporate affairs manager, said in a press release. “We offer naloxone, the life-saving medication to help rapidly reverse opioid overdose, and we provide free DisposeRx® for customers of qualifying medications to keep unused drugs from being used improperly.”

Read more: Utah Naloxone credited with reducing opioid overdose deaths 

There are four critically important medication safety principles:

  • Only use prescription medications as directed by a health professional.
  • Never share your prescription medications with others or use someone else’s prescription medications.
  • Always store your medications securely to prevent others from taking them, and properly dispose of medications that you no longer need. Don’t flush your them. If no instructions are given on the drug label and no take-back program is available in your area, take them out of their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter to make the medication less appealing and unrecognizable, then put them in a sealable bag, empty can or other container to prevent the medication from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.
  • Be a good example to those around you by modeling these safe medication-taking practices and discussing the dangers of misusing prescription drugs with your family, friends, colleagues, students or patients.

Prescription Drug Take Back Day occurs twice a year in April and October. However, for year-round safe disposal, there are drop boxes located in the following locations in Washington and Iron counties:

  • Watson Dixie Pharmacy, St. George.
  • Fusion Pharmacy, Santa Clara.
  • Stapley Pharmacy in St. George and Enterprise.
  • St. George, Hurricane and Washington City police departments.
  • Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Dixie State University Police.
  • Township Pharmacy, Cedar City.
  • Parowan Pharmacy, Parowan.
  • Cedar City Police Department.
  • Iron County Sheriffs Department.

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