ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – Saturday was National Prescription Drug Take Back Day sponsored by the DEA. The day was created to encourage people to safely and properly dispose of their unused or unwanted prescription, over-the-counter, and even pet drugs at designated locations.
The DEA said that on National Take Back Day, officials can collect 200 to 500 pounds of medicine in the Permian Basin alone. Common disposal practices like using coffee grounds or flushing medicine down the toilet are both not fully effective and not entirely safe.
Sara Hinshaw, the Coordinator for the Middessa Community Alliance Coalition, said, the Deterra system, which is made up of absorbable technology that comes in a package, is most effective. The activated charcoal like ingredients that bond to the medication can never be separated, said Hinshaw.
If you missed the events on Saturday, the Odessa Police Department provides a permanent medication drop-off box in front of the OPD building. The website lists that the boxes will not accept aerosol medicines, syringes, and injectable or used intravenous solution due to being potentially hazardous.
OPD said, “the medications collected will be safely disposed of by staff to eliminate issues of water contamination and hazardous issues that affect the land.”
If you don’t have access to the Deterra packages, you can mix your medicines in a sealed plastic bag with kitty litter or active charcoal and then throw the sealed bag away. Officials said it’s important to scratch off all personal information on the label before you throw the bottle away.
Gary Warren, a pharmacist for Town and Country Drug, said it’s very important to dispose unused medications so they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
“If there is medication in your closet, that’s not locked up, it’s available to anyone. If you don’t know everybody like if there is a party at your house, people can get into your closet and steal your medications. Especially if they are controlled substances, they can be abused. But all medications can be dangerous if taken in large quantities,” said Warren.