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National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day: Saturday, 9/29

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Joanne Butler
Joanne Butler
Joanne Butler of Wilmington is a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a former professional staff member of the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Has your fall cleanup of your home included your medicine cabinet?  If not, it should because removing excess and outdated prescription drugs from your home helps prevent drug-related accidents and problems. But once you’ve gathered up the drugs, then what? Don’t dump them into the toilet (and into our water system) – bring them to your nearest National Prescription Drug Take Back http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/ site on September 29 from 10 am – 2 pm.

If you live in Wilmington, the city’s police department will have a collection station at Frawley Stadium at the Riverfront. The New Castle County Police will be collecting at their headquarters on Route 13 (3601 N. Dupont Highway), and the Delaware River and Bay Authority Police will have their site further south on Route 13 at the New Castle Airport Terminal (151 N. Dupont Highway).

In the Wilmington/Talleyville area, the Delaware Attorney General’s office will host a site at the Shipley Manor retirement community located at 2723 Shipley Road (near the Brandywine Country Club).

In the Newark area, there will be collection sites at:  4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road (run by the Delaware State Police), the University of Delware’s Public Safety Building at 413 Academy Street (run by the UD Police), and the Newark Senior Center at 200 White Chapel Drive (run by the Newark Police Department).

Many other collection sites are planned for southern New Castle County as well as Kent and Sussex Counties; just go to the link http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/ and input your zip code to find the nearest one.

You might not realize it, but in the 21st century, leftover prescription drugs are a growing issue. Once it was a matter of one or two pills in a little bottle forgotten at the back the medicine cabinet. Today, in the era of 90-day supplies of inexpensive generic maintenance drugs, it’s a different story. Yes, there’s still that platoon of near-empty pill bottles to deal with. But if you’re like me, you may find you’ve also got big half-empty bottle of maintenance drugs that you or a family member tried for a month, found they didn’t work, and switched to something else.

For those taking several maintenance drugs per day (especially seniors), this trial-and-error process may result in hundreds of leftover pills in the home. One danger from having all these pills hanging around is confusion over which drug to take – which is the current drug and which is the one that didn’t work?

Another danger is theft and drug abuse – a family member, friend or acquaintance stealing prescription drugs from inside the home, or thieves rifling through trash bags in search of pills. Having leftover prescription drugs on-hand can make a home a tempting target for drug abusers and pushers.

An easy answer might seem to be to just throw the stuff down the toilet, but it’s not. The medications dissolve and enter the municipal water system. During the April 2012 Take-Back event, law enforcement authorities nationwide collected 276 tons of prescription drugs – imagine the impact if those drugs had gotten into the water system.

So if you want to improve the safety of your home, the homes of your elderly family and friends, your community, and the environment – take a small step on September 29. Gather up those unwanted prescription drugs and get rid of them at a Take-Back disposal site. You’ll be helping make Delaware a cleaner, better place to live.

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