Hundreds Participate In Medication Take Back Event

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nearly 620 pounds of unwanted or expired medications collected in Sedgwick County as part of "The National Take Back Initiative."

"It's important for the public to have a way to dispose of their drugs and that's why we're out here today," said Sgt. Scott Plummer with the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office.

For one day, Kansans got a solution for hundreds of expired or unwanted drugs. Last October, "The National Take Back Initiative," came to Wichita and the community participated, with about 700 pounds of medications collected.

"The first time we did it, we had a huge number. We were one of the bigger ones in the Midwest, the Sheriff's Office sites here in Wichita. I hope we can continue to have the big numbers and big turnout so we can continue the program," said Plummer.

A local water engineer, who dropped a few expired medications, said these events are important to keep waterways safe in Kansas.

"It's best to go ahead and pull these drugs out of the waste stream and handle them that way as opposed to dumping them down the sewer because they'll end up in the sewage treatment plant and they won't be really treated in the sewage treatment plant. They'll just end up in our rivers and lakes," said John Goetz.

Officials said each day, about 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time.

"There's no other way to get rid of them. You don't want them falling into the hands of teenagers," said Sherri Stevens, participant from Wichita. "It's just a safe way to get rid of things that you don't know how to get rid of."

The program was appreciated by the hundreds of people who drove by one of the three locations in Wichita to drop off unwanted medications.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

The Drug Enforcement Administration says people can drop off unused prescriptions at sites around the country next week as part of an effort to prevent drug abuse.

The agency's third such event is set for Oct. 29. The DEA says the first two collections took in more than 309 tons of pills.

The drugs are incinerated.

The agency says surveys show that more people in the United States abuse prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin and hallucinogens combined.

When people dispose of unused prescriptions, they often flush them. That can send unwanted medicines into the water supply.

The DEA says people can drop off their unused prescriptions for free, with no questions asked. A searchable list of collection sites is available here

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