ODCP director Steve Lukan is happy to see so many people cleared the unneeded drugs out of their medicine cabinets. “All Iowans really ought to be proud of the amount that was taken back, and I think it was just a great effort by law enforcement and other community leaders to really get the word out — and then again a real pat on the back to all Iowans for participating so strongly,” Lukan says.
The goal of the take back days is to keep unused prescription drugs from those who might misuse them. “We do feel like this does make a big difference in the amount of these types of drugs that end up on the street and end up being abused,” he says. Lukan says you should continue to keep a check on your prescriptions and get rid of the ones you no longer need.
He says every year there is an increase in the amount of drugs prescribed, so there are more and more that are not used and he says vigilance in proper disposal is important. Lukan recently joined the governor to announce the goal of having a permanent drug take back site in all of Iowa’s 99 counties. He says many are already available.
Lukan says you can go to their website and find the nearest place to take your unused prescription drugs. There are a couple of types of drugs that are of particular concern.
“Certainly the painkillers because of their power — their powerful nature — but also a lot of the antidepressants that are out there as well,” according to Lukan. “So that’s probably two that are very potent and sometimes unfortunately end up getting mixed to become more potent and even more of a danger.” Lukan says Iowans always respond well to the Take Back Days.
“On a per-capita basis we are often at the top,” Lukan says, “and I wouldn’t be surprised with this latest take back volume if we aren’t maybe number one or two again. It’s not been uncommon for us to be one of the strongest states in participation and total pounds taken.
The Take Back Days have been held twice a year for the last six years and Iowans have brought in nearly 39 tons of unneeded prescription drugs. For a map of permanent Iowa Take Back sites and other information to help prevent prescription drug abuse, go to: odcp.iowa.gov/rxtakebacks.