GREENVILLE — National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday, with more than 220 sites statewide where Ohioans can safely dispose of unwanted medications. The collection point in Darke County will be at Family Health Services of Darke County, 5735 Meeker Road.
The Darke County Drug Task Force partnered with Darke County Family Health, Darke County Solid Waste and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration to give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.
The disposal service is free and anonymous — no questions asked.
The collection is for medications in pill form only. Creams, powders and liquids cannot be accepted. The medication does not need to be labelled or separated.
“This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” a recent release from the Darke County Solid Waste Management District said. “Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.”
For years, people were advised to prevent misuse of old drugs by disposing of them by flushing them down the toilet, but recent studies have found even low concentrations of some human medications can do considerable harm to fish and shellfish, killing them off and damaging the environment or making them unsafe for consumption by humans or other animals. Also, introduction of antibiotics to waterways leads to further growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
“This is a very good program,” said Det. Sgt. Chris Clark of the Darke County Sheriff’s Office. “It takes away the dangerous drugs that are leftover from your loved ones, past medications that are expired so kids can’t get into it.”
Clark said one of the single biggest uses of the drug take-back program has been for families who have lost a loved one to dispose of the leftover medications.
“We’re keeping dangerous drugs off the streets,” Clark said.
Jean Young, Executive Director of Darke County Family Health Services, agreed with the importance of the program. Family Health has a drug disposal bin that is accessible during regular business hours.
Young said she’s often had surviving spouses or family members come to her asking what should be done with the medication left when someone dies. She spoke of the danger of a criminal breaking into a home to steal their prescription medications.
“This keeps drugs off the streets,” Young said. “It also keeps them out of our water system.”
The City of Greenville Police Department has a permanent drop-box available to the public. This container is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week for additional convenience in properly disposing of unwanted drugs.
“Abuse of prescription drugs — especially painkillers — can devastate communities,” Sen. Sherrod Brown said in a recent announcement. “Too many teenagers can get prescription drugs from the family medicine cabinet or from family and friends who no longer use the medicine they were legally prescribed. That’s why these DEA-sponsored Drug Take-Back Days are so important in Ohio. All prescription medications — especially addictive opioid painkillers — should be disposed of safely to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.”