Take-Back Day collects old, unused prescription drugs

Take Back 2013On Saturday, April 27, the Sunapee Police Department and other police departments and community partners across the state will take part in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Take-Back Day.

The program provides the public a free and safe disposal method for potentially dangerous prescription drugs that are expired, unused or unwanted.

This service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Collections will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the following locations in Sullivan County:

  • Charlestown Police Department, 2 Claremont Road, Charlestown
  • Claremont Savings Bank, 145 Broad Street, Claremont
  • Grantham Police Department, 300 Route 10 South, Grantham
  • Sullivan County Complex, 14 Main Street, Newport
  • Sunapee Police Department, 9 Sargent Road, Sunapee
  • Washington Police Department, 5 Halfmoon Pond Road, Washington

The program has both a public safety and environmental protection focus.

Keeping drugs off the streets

“Many people are not aware that medicines that are no longer needed but remain in home cabinets are highly susceptible to misuse and abuse, including theft,” the Sunapee Police Department release said. “Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.”

A majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet, according to studies.

“Drug overdoses have been rising in the state and nationally for more than a decade,” said Liz Hennig, coordinator of Communities United Regional Network for Sullivan County.

“More New Hampshire residents now die of overdose than car crashes. Most young people who get hooked on these drugs start by getting them from someone’s medicine cabinet. If we dispose of these medications safely, we help keep our young people free from addiction and drug abuse.”

Protecting the environment

Many people do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash.

Studies show pharmaceutical residues in waterways and in wildlife.

Flushing unused prescription drugs down the toilet or sink drain or putting them in the trash is an unsafe option in many instances. Human medication and other chemicals have been measured in fish, and can result in behavioral changes and a reduction in male fish populations.

The drugs can also affect bacteria in ways that could change our entire ecosystem and spawn antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

Community take-back programs help keep these drugs out of water systems and the environment.

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