LIMA — Residents of Allen and surrounding counties seeking to discard unwanted prescription medicines will have several locations from which to choose today.
Drop-off locations throughout the region will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of the National Prescription Take-Back Day efforts. The event is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration in an effort to provide safe, convenient and responsible means for disposal of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for abuse and medications.
Mercy Health-St. Rita’s is asking people to turn in unused or expired medication for safe disposal on this day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is no charge for the public. Medicines should be kept in their original bottles with the patient’s name blacked out. No syringes or illegal drugs will be accepted.
There are five drop-off sites in Lima and one each in surrounding counties where unwanted prescription medicines may be taken during today’s four-hour window.
Wisdom Adaka, a pharmacist at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s, urged residents to take advantage of the yearly opportunity to dispose of unwanted medicines in manner that is safe not only for members of individual households but for the environment in general.
“Prescription medicines are specific to each patient. Medicine that are beneficial for one patient may not be beneficial and could actually be harmful to another,” said Adaka. For that reason, he said, medications should not be shared among household members.
And simply throwing any unwanted meds into the trash or flushing them down the toilet is a poor practice for several reasons, said the health professional, not the least of which are the risk of pills falling into the wrong hands or the potential contamination of a community’s water supply.
Adaka urged residents to be aware of expiration dates on prescription medicines asked that any meds that have passed their expiration date be brought to one of today’s drop-off sites.
Allen County Sheriff Matt Treglia said the annual take-back collections are an asset to the community.
“It’s very important to get expired drugs — especially opiate derivatives — off of countertops and out of cupboards, where they can be forgotten for months and years, and possibly end up in the hands of children or addicts,” said Treglia. “We keep an expired narcotics take-back box in our lobby year round because we are concerned with the safe handling of prescription drugs.”
“The importance of the Drug Take Back Day cannot be overstated,” said Lima Police Chief Kevin Martin. “Far too many people are dying, on a daily basis, throughout our great nation as a result of opiate overdoses. The Drug Take Back Day allows for people to ensure their prescriptions that are no longer needed can be properly disposed of before they end up in the wrong hands. Unnecessary tragedy can be avoided by turning unused and unneeded medications into one of the various collection sites.”
Ohio’s two U.S. Senators — Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman — have joined forces to promote the collection of prescription medications.
“Addiction isn’t an individual problem or a character flaw, it’s a disease — a disease that all too often starts in the family medicine cabinet,” said Brown, a Democrat. “That’s why this Drug Take Back Day is 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.”
Portman, a Republican, added, “Four out of five people addicted to opioids start out using prescription drugs. That’s why it’s so important to safely dispose of all unnecessary prescription medications. Together, we can help turn the tide of addiction and ensure that every Ohioan reaches their God-given potential.”