SPEARFISH, SD – The 22nd National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, April 30, 2022, when everyone is encouraged to safely discard old, unwanted, or no longer needed medications.
The awareness event aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. It is coordinated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), state and local law enforcement agencies, and community partners to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from homes.
“It’s dangerous and often tragic when unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands, whether by accident or intentionally,” Spearfish Police Chief Curt Jacobs said.
“We’re always happy to see people utilize our drop box, safely and anonymously, to clean out their medicine cabinets.”
The Spearfish Police Department, located at 225 W. Illinois St., features a drop box right outside its lobby door which is accessible 24 hours a day, every day, for people to anonymously drop off expired or unused prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, pet medicines, and vitamin supplements for destruction (no syringes/sharps). All collected medications will be disposed of by law enforcement in accordance with state guidelines and the DEA.
During the October 2021 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, there were nearly 5,000 collection sites across the country, with approximately 372 tons of medications collected.
“This initiative addresses an issue that impacts every community,” said Chief Jacobs.
“Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Many opioid additions begin with prescription pills found in medicine cabinets at home, and a majority of people who misuse a prescription medication say they obtain the medication from a family member or friend.”
Unused or expired drugs are also unsafe as they can be scavenged or sold illegally; children and animals could be poisoned if they find and swallow drugs; and they can be toxic to the environment. Officials discourage flushing medication down the toilet – unless medications specifically indicate that they can be flushed – because of the public health implication of drugs entering the ecosystem and potential negative effects on the water supply.
Anyone may safely and anonymously drop off unused/unwanted medications at the drop box in Spearfish.
There is also a wellness event hosted at the Spearfish City Park Pavilion from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 30, where a drug take-back box will be located for people to dispose of unwanted prescription medications.
For a list of additional collection sites and more information about National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, visit https://www.dea.gov/takebackday.
Photo caption: People can drop off expired, unused and unwanted prescriptions, and other medication to be safely disposed of at this drop box located at 225 W. Illinois St. in Spearfish. The drop box is accessible 24/7. Photo courtesy of Spearfish Police Department