The Roundup -

National Prescription Take Back Day on April 29


April 26, 2017 | View PDF

Richland County Undersheriff Bob Burnison stands next to a perscription drop off location.

Local law enforcement in Richland County will be participating in National Prescription Take Back Day on April 29. The take back program is a national effort that was designed to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, as well as educating the public regarding the abuse of medications.

Beginning in 2010, the National Prescription Take Back Day unites local law enforcement with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Participating agencies provide collection centers to take back unused, expired, or unneeded medications. Residents can return medications anonymously, so they do not fear possible intrusions of privacy or repercussions from law enforcement for perceived violations of the law. The disposal service has, in years past, secured millions of pounds of unwanted drugs.

"We're not exactly participating exclusively on that day, but we have provided a 'take back center' at the Law and Justice Center. We have also partnered with District II Alcohol and Drug Program and Checkers to provide boxes at local pharmacies. We are promoting the day for the purpose of educating the public," Richland Co. Undersheriff Bob Burnison told the Roundup.

The interesting partnership between the Richland County Sheriff's Department and Checkers developed out of "Red Ribbon Week" several years ago, when funds were raised and Checkers, along with others, took the initiative to give back to the community by buying the take-back containers.

The "take back boxes" are located at Sidney's three pharmacies: White Drug, Shopko, and Sidney Health Center. The boxes are not all easily visible, but customers can find them readily enough by asking pharmacy employees where they are located.

Drugs collected by the Sheriff's Department are collected by Burnison, and then taken to the hospital where specialized chemicals are used to "neutralize" the drugs and dissolve them.

Janette McCollum of Checkers, the local drug-testing company that was instrumental in helping collect the funds for the take back boxes, told the Roundup, "We want to encourage the community to continue to support Red Ribbon Week and continue to support the fund set up at the Foundation for Community Care."

According to McCollum, unused or unsecured prescription medication can cause community problems, saying, "There are reports of school-aged children taking prescription medicine from the bathroom cabinets of their peers while visiting their home. The more unused prescription medicines are left out there, the more likely problems will arise."

According to health experts, many medications should not be thrown away in the trash. In that case, medications can be stolen, accidentally ingested, or chemically corrupt the recycling process. Residents are encouraged by the Richland County Sheriff's Department to bring in all their old, unused or unwanted medications on April 29. However, they ask that used syringes and needles NOT be brought in due to the potential hazards in handling them.


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