Saturday is another state and national drug take back day. Dale Woolery, the spokesman for the state’s Drug Policy Coordinator, says the events were started three years ago by federal officials. “This is an attempt to allow people to dispose of in a safe and healthy way, those unused prescription drugs — especially those that might be considered potentially dangerous or have a high potential for abuse — the controlled prescription medications. Things like prescription pain relievers,” Woolery explains.
The events are now held two times a year. Woolery says the events haven’t gone exactly the way they were expected to. “The operating theory at the beginning of these three years ago was that as time went on, the amount of unused prescription drugs that needed to be collected would actually decrease,” Woolery says. “But that hasn’t happened. They’ve actually seen an increase at the national level — and to some extent here in Iowa — with each successive year.”
He says the amount of prescription drugs brought in has likely increased because more people have become aware of the take back days. That’s led to a lot of people turning in their unused pills. “After seven of these over the last three years, Iowans have disposed of about 17 tons of unused prescription drugs,” Woolery says. He encourages you to take a look in your medicine cabinets and bathroom drawers for medications that you no longer use.
Woolery says it’s something that can get overlooked. “It’s like the garage or the basement or the closet — I think we tend to fill those up if we have the opportunity. I think the medicine cabinets are the same way,” he says
There are a record number of sites that are taking back the drugs this year. Woolery says there are over 120, and the best place to go to find a site is www.iowamedicinetlc.org and then click on national prescription take back day and you can find a site near you. The medications can be dropped off with no questions asked.
Most Iowa sites collecting unused medicines will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.