You know not to flush your unused medications down the toilet. But you have children or pets in your home, which makes discarding the medicines in the trash a risky proposition. And you’re busy. So despite that nagging feeling that you really need to get rid of this stuff somehow, figuring out how to dispose of unused medicines just isn’t a high priority. The result? The medicines keep accumulating. If this describes your situation, know that you aren’t alone. And help is coming….on October 29, 2011 from 10a.m. to 2p.m.

That day, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will be holding its third National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day to help consumers safely dispose of unused, unneeded, and expired prescription medications, including controlled substances. During the first two DEA Take-back days more than 309 tons of pills were turned in at collection sites across the country.

“Due to the negative impacts that improper medicine disposal has on wildlife and the potential for accidental poisonings or drug diversion if the meds aren’t disposed of, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant always recommends that people take their unused medications to a local collection program,” said Laura Kammin, pollution prevention specialist. “Unfortunately, not every community has a collection program in place. That’s why we encourage people to participate in the DEA events.”

So if you have a stockpile in your medicine chest, and no local collection program, take heart. Remember to watch for updates on locations for the take-back day in October. If you want to be sure there is one in your community, contact Laura Kammin for more information. Further information about the upcoming DEA Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is also available on the DEA website.

If you would like more information about organizing a take-back program in your community, check out IISG’s toolkit Disposal of Unwanted Medicines:
A Resource for Action in Your Community

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