Take-back-boxSaturday is “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day”, and state health and safety officials encourage you to check for unused drugs in your medicine cabinet.

The Associate Director of the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, Dale Woolery, says getting rid of the prescription drugs properly can help cut abuse.

“More and more are being prescribed and used, and that means there are more leftovers. And so, its spring, it’s a great opportunity to clean out the medicine cabinet and take back those uneeded medicines,” Woolery says. “Because that is the number one source of medications that get abuse. We have a growing opioid abuse and overdose problem in this state and in the country.”

The pain killers known as opiods are one of the biggest concerns. “Nationwide now we see 78 people dying every day of opioid overdoses,” according to Woolery. “So, it’s really important, this is one way all of us can help to reduce the opioid abuse problem — that’s getting rid of our unused medicines.” Woolery talked in front of a container set up in the lobby of the public safety building where people can bring in unused prescription drugs.

“This is the 11th semi-annual one-day effort where for four hours on a Saturday twice a year Iowans an other Americans have had an opportunity to take back their medications, “Woolery says. “But here in Iowa and elsewhere, we are trying to make it easier for everyone to take back their meds, so that you don’t have to hold onto them for six months. Statewide right now we have 82 permanent take back kiosks. Most of those are in local law enforcement centers, some are in pharmacies.”

More than 100 Iowa sites are signed up to participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, most from 10:00 A.M. until 2:00 p.m. Saturday. “It’s a no questions asked, just bring them in and dump them in the collection box. We would suggest that you take your name or identification off of them just to be safe,” Woolery says.

You can find Saturday Take Back sites, permanent Take Back locations, educational materials and other related information at: odcp.iowa.gov/rxtakebacks.

Over the last 10 National Prescription Drug Take Back Days, Iowans have safely disposed of nearly 30 tons of obsolete prescription drugs, or about three tons during each one-day event. According to the DEA, approximately 2,763 tons or 5.5 million pounds of unused medicines have been collected nationally since the start of the Take Back campaign in 2010.