CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A lot of unused medications and prescriptions are out of people’s houses and off the streets after National Drug Take Back Day this past weekend.
It happens twice a year in April and October. Last October, not many people attended due to the pandemic, but this time around, more medications were collected than expected.
“We alone brought in 50. So, we had about four bags full of medication that were returned to us,” Susan Bissett, President of the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute said.
This past Saturday, the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute partnered with the Charleston Police Department for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. It addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue.
“If you just throw them in the trash for example, animals can get in the trash, people can get into the trash and take those medications and typically on the bottle you have your personal information,” Lindsay Acree, a Pharmacist in Charleston said.
According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers, 4.9 million people misused prescription stimulants, and 5.9 million people misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives.
“Nine out of ten childhood poisonings happen in the home. There are some statistics from the National Poison Control Center that there’s an increase in young children who are visiting ER emergency rooms because they’ve ingested someone’s medication,” Bissett said.
If you have unused medications and can’t drop them off at a pharmacy or another safe disposal site, here’s another option.
“A lot of times medication can be mixed with things like cat litter or coffee grounds, but you want to take them out of the bottles and mix them with those products and seal it in bag and them throw it in the trash,” Acree said.
West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute also has a partnership with Dispose RX, which are packets you pour into pill bottles, fill it with three quarters of water, seal the bottle and then shake it. People should also never flush medication down the toilet because it goes into the water source.
Acree says people also should not save opioids or pain medication after they are better for another day. You should get rid of them. If you get hurt or need more medication you can always go back to the doctor to get more.