Don’t flush old medicine

LIHUE — Turn in your unused or expired medication for safe, anonymous disposal through the National Take Back Initiative on Saturday, Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kauai Police Department parking lot, 3990 Kaana Street.

The statewide event is to properly disposing of tablets, capsules and other solid dosage forms of medications with no questions asked. New or used needles and syringes will not be accepted.

“We do not have a method at this time for proper disposal, but we are researching the possibility of accepting them in the future,” said Valerie Mariano, the state Attorney General’s Chief of Community and Crime Prevention Branch.

The events are a preferred alternative to throwing medications in the trash or flushing them down the toilet. Proper disposal helps reduce the risk of toxic drugs entering a human water supply or harming aquatic life.

Robin Dinlocker, assistant special agent in Charge at the DEA Honolulu District Office, said about 1,300 pounds of prescription medications were collected throughout the Hawaiian Islands from the April 27 Take Back event.

“Nationally, as well as locally, one of the fastest-growing drug abuse concerns is the abuse and misuse of prescription drugs,” Dinlocker said. “A large percentage of people abusing prescription drugs obtain them from friends and relatives, often raiding the family medicine cabinet.”

In order to stem this trend, Dinlocker said the DEA, local law enforcement and community partners host the Take Back events in a collaborative effort with the Attorney General, the DEA, Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement Take Back events on Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii.

According to the Attorney General’s office, Hawaii together with Guam and Northern Marianas Islands, has collected just over 8,000 pounds of expired and unused prescription medications at Take Back events since 2010. The 5, 263 Take Back events across the country last September resulted in the disposal of 244 tons of prescription medicine.

Unused medications may lose their effectiveness after the expiration date. A cluttered medicine cabinet of old medications can also increase the risk of accidental poisoning.

Elders may confuse one medicine for another and increase the risk of accidental but dangerous misuse. Children may also mistake medicine for candy.

More information and a list of collection sites is online at www.dea.gov.

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