Mayor Chris Beutler urged the public to drop off leftover or unwanted medications at local retailers on Drug Take-Back Day, Saturday, September 27. Eleven retailers are participating in the free event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.:
About one-third of all prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications go unused and remain in homes long after their expiration date. Mayor Beutler said this can cause several problems.
"First, leftover medications can fall into the wrong hands, leading to substance abuse and accidental poisoning," he said. "In 2012, more than 64,000 children in the U.S. were treated in an emergency room for medicine poisoning. Secondly, medication that is not disposed of properly can end up harming our environment."
The drug take-back event is a combined effort of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Lincoln Police Department, Lancaster County Sheriff's Office, the State Attorney General's office, School Community Intervention and Prevention volunteers, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) and participating pharmacies.
"Medication take-back programs are the best and safest way to dispose of unwanted and unused medications," said participating Hy-Vee pharmacist Jill Loos. "It is a service that we feel is important to offer the customers of Hy-Vee to protect people, pets and our environment from exposure to potentially dangerous medications." Health officials say leftover medications are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
The take-back event is partially funded by a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust to the LLCHD. To date, 40 area pharmacies have collected more than 4,500 pounds of unwanted medications. For more in information on the take-back event, proper medication disposal or the Nebraska MEDS Disposal Program, visit nebraskameds.org, call 402-480-1956 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.