I bet everybody reading this can dig around in their home for just a minute or two and find prescription and over-the-counter medicines that should have been gotten rid of long ago.
We all have drugs that are old and expired or no longer needed. Some of them might be very potent and harmful if taken contrary to a doctor’s orders or in the wrong dose. There are lots of reasons we shouldn’t keep these drugs around. Unknowing young children could find and ingest them and become very sick. The medicines could also be harmful to household pets.
Perhaps most importantly, these medicines could be abused by the patient or household members with a substance abuse problem who take them for non-medical reasons.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), most opioid addictions begin with prescription pills found in the home. We need to rid our medicine cabinets and bathroom drawers of these drugs.
It’s easy to do. Twice a year the DEA holds a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in partnership with agencies and organizations across the country. The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the Lancaster Police Department and the Lancaster County Coalition for Healthy Youth are proud participants.
The program began in 2010 and has resulted in the removal of almost 17 million pounds of medications from cities and towns across the country. Last October, more than 647,000 pounds was collected at almost 5,000 collection sites.
The next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. All you have to do is box or bag up your unneeded medications and drop them off at a collection site.
The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office has permanent, secure collection receptacles at all three of its locations: the main office at 1520 Pageland Highway, Lancaster; the Kershaw substation at Kershaw Town Hall, 113 S. Hampton St., Kershaw; and the Indian Land substation at 1821 Sandal Brook Road, Indian Land. The Lancaster Police Department, 405 E. Arch St., Lancaster, also has a permanent receptacle.
For Take Back Day, a fourth location will be temporarily available at the Del Webb Library, 7641 Charlotte Highway, Indian Land. Only pills and patches may be dropped off. Don’t bring liquids and needles. You don’t need to do anything special with the medicines. They will be properly destroyed, along with containers with labels identifying patients and medications.
Although April 22 is the National Take Back Day, the sheriff’s office substation receptacles are available to the public during regular business hours every Monday through Friday, and the lobby at the main Pageland Highway location is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Lancaster Police Department site is also available around the clock every day.
It’s quick. It’s easy. And it gets dangerous medications out of reach and out of circulation. You might just save a life by ridding your home of these drugs.
Barry S. Faile is sheriff of Lancaster County.