Taking back drugs

LIHUE — The County of Kauai filled over 30 boxes of unwanted prescription drugs Saturday.

The Kauai Police Department and Life’s Choices Kauai hosted Drug Take-Back Day, a United States Drug Enforcement Administration program that encourages people to get rid of their prescription medication.

On Kauai, residents donated about 300 pounds of unwanted drugs in the form of tablets, capsules and other solid dosages to the KPD headquarters.

But due to the “no questions asked” policy, KPD does not keep a breakdown of what kinds of medication was dropped off, said Sarah Blane, a county spokeswoman.

“We are grateful to our officers and volunteers who are committed to hosting the Drug Take Back collection events, and to our community for their continued participation,” said Michael Contrades, deputy police chief. “This event ensures safe disposal of medications and other drugs in a way that’s convenient and completely anonymous, while also helping to prevent these drugs from getting into the wrong hands.”

After being collected, the medication is then incinerated, adhering to DEA standards, Blane said.

Since National Drug Take-Back Day started six years ago, about 6.4 million pounds of prescription drugs have been collected, according to the DEA.

The program is a bi-annual event. The next take-back day is scheduled for spring 2017.

KPD isn’t the only place on the island where people can bring in their unwanted medications.

North Shore Pharmacy in Kilauea started a drug collection pilot program in August, providing residents with a safe place to bring in their unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

The program is made possible through a partnership with Sharp’s Compliance Inc., a medical waste management company based in Texas, said Sheree Latif, owner of North Shore Pharmacy.

The company sends North Shore Pharmacy large boxes, which are then filled with medication and are sent back to Texas to be destroyed.

Latif estimates about 10 boxes have been sent to Texas.

“We’re getting a great response,” she said.

Latif plans to continue the program.

“There’s no end in sight,” she said. “As long as people bring stuff in, we’ll send it.”

Collection runs during their normal business hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

Only tablets and capsules are accepted. Liquid medicine and paraphernalia, like syringes, cannot be collected.

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