Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Time to trash expired meds and reduce drug overdose deaths

Ken MammarellaHealth, Government, Headlines

Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is a chance to safely discard expired or unused medication. (Southern New Castle County Coalition)

Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is a chance to safely discard expired or unused medication. (Southern New Castle County Coalition)

With Delaware’s 25th Prescription Drug Take-Back Day coming up Saturday, Oct. 28, the state says it sees signs that discarding expired or unused medication is one arrow in its arsenal to reducing addiction and deaths from drug overdoses.

Among other things, the Delaware Division of Public Health pointed to:

  • Delaware has dropped in the ranking of overdose deaths per capita. The First State is now No. 5 in the nation. It had been No. 2.
  • Each year, the division increases the number of places and ways that Narcan, a drug that reduces the effect of opioids, can be obtained. Recently, there’s been a large increase in the number of mail-order requests.
  • Because of the ready access of Narcan kits, a Jersey Mike’s manager saved a person’s life, and a woman at the Firefly Music Festival saved her boyfriend’s life.

Saturday’s drug take-back efforts will allow Delaware residents to dispose of unused or expired medications from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at locations across the state.

Medications to be disposed of must be in a container – such as a pill bottle, box, blister pack or zipped plastic bag – with personal information removed. Liquid medications must be in their original containers.

Vape pens and e-cigarettes will be collected if the batteries are removed.

Specialized help

In addition, there will be four locations where needles can be disposed of and six where Narcan (an overdose reversal medication) and overdose response education will be available.

Delaware residents can bring used needles to be disposed of properly at the Laurel, Milton, Middletown and Wilmington police departments Individuals will need to sign a waiver stating that needles are from home use.

The safest way to dispose of needles is with a Sharps disposal container, which is delivered to incinerators to avoid accidental exposure. The only confirmed location offering Sharps disposal is the Middletown Police Department, according to the Southern New Castle County Coalition.

The Wilmington, New Castle, Middletown, Dover, Milford and Laurel police departments will also offer overdose response training and Narcan distribution. For other community trainings and where to get free Narcan, go to Help Is Here Delaware.

Some locations will accept medicines year-round.

The division and community partners also distribute Deterra bags, which deactivate medication with granular carbon.

Organizations interested in distributing Deterra bags should contact the coalition at [email protected].

The state program is part of the national Drug Enforcement Administration’s program, with take-back events in April and October.

The goal is to reduce the chance of someone stealing medication for misuse.

Delaware has collected 114,470 pounds of medication since 2010. A year ago, 4,200 pounds of unneeded medication were collected at 23 Delaware locations.

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