Take back on track

Anyone with unused or expired prescription medicine will now have more than one opportunity to turn in their pills after three locations have announced their participation.

The annual Take Back event, which provides the public an opportunity to turn in their unused prescription medication for safe disposal, has been held at Hy-Vee, 214 S. 25th St., ever since the program began three years ago.

This year, in addition to Hy-Vee, Sheriff Jim Stubbs said the unused medicine can also be dropped off at Daniel Pharmacy, 1114 Central Ave, from 4 to 6 p.m. April 25.

“They had approached me a couple of times and asked if they could help,” Stubbs said. “The problem was that we weren’t able to get the manpower to cover more than one location in previous years.”

“This year we have it worked out to where we’ll split up and cover both Daniel and Hy-Vee at the same time,” he added, saying he believes having more than one location will be beneficial.

For those who are unable to make it to either Hy-Vee or Daniel Pharmacy, Stubbs said there will also be a third drop-off location at the Elderbridge Agency on Aging, 108 S. Eighth St., from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. May 14.

“They had contacted us, and it worked out so we can satisfy their request and still meet the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) guidelines,” Stubbs said, adding the DEA has a specific date for when the prescription drugs are destroyed.

Take Back events are a collaborative effort between the DEA, Webster County Sheriff’s Department and Fort Dodge Police Department.

Held every six months, Stubbs said they have proven to be successful both locally and nationally.

“I believe last year I sent in about 17 pounds to the DEA,” he said. “We hope to increase that by using the three locations over the course of the whole event.”

The DEA reported that more than 324 tons of unused medicine were turned in at the last Take Back events that were held in October.

Take Backs, which are completely anonymous, also provide an opportunity to educate the public on the dangers of unused prescription drugs.

“There are people that come and didn’t realize that they or someone they know had that many old prescriptions and they didn’t know what to do with them,” Stubbs said. “It becomes a good way to get them out of potentially being circulated and falling into the wrong hands.”

It also prevents the medicine from being disposed of incorrectly, such as being flushed down the toilet.

“We encourage people to take advantage of the Take Back event,” Stubbs said. “It’s a community service we want to provide and we hope it keeps going.”

Though unused medicines are allowed to be dropped off, Stubbs said syringes and needles will not be accepted.

“If anybody has questions, they should talk to their pharmacist about the proper way to dispose of them,” he said.

There will also be a pharmacist present at the Take Back locations to determine which prescriptions the pharmacy can destroy and which ones need to be sent to the DEA.