On Saturday, dispose of those dust-gathering drugs

Those bottles of old medications sitting inside your medicine cabinet aren’t just going nowhere. There’s a good chance that, over time, they’ll fall into the wrong hands — perhaps a thief’s, maybe a snooping neighbor’s, or even your child’s.

But throwing them in the trash isn’t a great alternative, as someone could still get their hands on them. And flushing them down the toilet, it turns out, isn’t good for marine life.

So what to do? Well, this Saturday’s your best bet to get rid of them.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s “Take-Back” program is pretty simple: drop off your old prescription drugs free of charge between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.You can do so at either the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office’s mall location or at the Port Orchard Police Department in city hall.

Of course, you can always drop off old drugs at the Bainbridge Island Police Department or the Mason County Fire District 2 station should Saturday not work for you.

This is only the DEA’s second-ever drug take back event, clearly back by popular demand:  Last September, Americans turned in over 242,000 pounds of prescription drugs in four hours. In Washington, 4.5 tons of old prescriptions were turned in.

If the Kitsap locations don’t work for you, try searching for other spots here.

For more, here’s the news release from the DEA:

Pharmaceutical drugs can be as dangerous as street drugs.  The majority of teenagers get pharmaceuticals from family and friends – and the home medicine cabinet.  The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its community partners throughout Washington will provide to the public a safe, free and anonymous way to rid their homes of potentially dangerous prescription drugs on Saturday, April 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

This is the second DEA led nation-wide prescription drug “Take-Back” program that seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft.  Last September, Americans turned in over 242,000 pounds – 121 tons- of prescription drugs at nearly 4100 sites operated by more than 3,000 of the DEA’s state and local law enforcement partners. In less than four hours, Washington residents turned in nearly 4.5 tons of medicine.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high–more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

“Taking the time to clean out your medicine cabinet can be a matter of life and death,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Mark Thomas.  “The Prescription Drug Take Back program provides a safe way to dispose of unused and expired medication that can lead to accidental poisoning, overdose and abuse.  DEA and its partners are committed to keeping our communities safe.”

Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to www.dea.gov and clicking on the “Got Drugs?” banner at the top of the home page, which connects to a database that the public can search by zip code, city or county.  Additionally, the public can call 1-800-882-9539.

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