Lincoln – The prescription medications you dispose of now may just save a loved one’s health and life in the future – and whether that’s dropping off your unwanted medications at your local pharmacy any day or participating in the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) twice-yearly large-scale events, you can lessen the chances that dangerous substances will fall into the wrong hands.
The DEA’s next formal take-back day is Saturday, October 24. Participating agencies are listed below.
While the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that the prevalence of opioid use disorder decreased from 2.1 million cases nationwide in 2018 to 1.6 million cases in 2019 – which SAMHSA believes is the result of improved access to medication-assisted treatment and recovery support – there is still work to be done.
“Don’t keep leftover medications—instead, learn how to dispose of them the right way,” said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. “SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows year after year that the majority of misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else’s medication being stolen from the home medicine cabinet.”
“Unused prescription drugs thrown in the trash can be retrieved and abused or illegally sold, and unused medications that are flushed contaminate the water supply,” added Sarah Hunter, project coordinator for the Nebraska MEDS Coalition. “If a local program is not available, take the meds out of their bottles; mix them with something unappealing, like used kitty litter, or seal them in a bag or disposable container and throw that away.
And every day in Nebraska can be a take-back day. Visit the Nebraska Meds Coalition’s website, https://www.nebraskameds.org, for a long list of pharmacies across the state that take part in this valuable program. The Nebraska MEDS Coalition has collected more than 100,000 pounds of medication. In July 2020 alone, the Nebraska Meds Coalition accepted 2,498 pounds of drugs, ranging from opioids to pet medications. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Pharmacies that participate in the Nebraska MEDS take-back program accept prescription medication; over-the-counter medication; creams, lotions, or ointments; liquid medication less than four ounces; pet medication, and pills, tablets, and capsules. The drug disposal program does not accept needles, syringes, or lancets; rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide; home-based care or medical equipment supplies; liquid medication greater than four ounces, or thermometers.