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Get rid of unused prescription drugs

By Staff | Sep 29, 2011

State Attorney General David Louie and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) last week warned Hawaii residents about a danger present in many homes.

It’s time for DEA’s annual National Take-Back Initiative. The campaign urges residents to safely dispose of expired or unused prescription medications.

“Unused or expired prescription drugs pose serious health and safety risks for those in our state,” said Louie.

“This is the third take-back effort in which our department is involved. I encourage everyone in the state to participate and bring in their unused or expired prescription drugs at the participating take-back locations.”

When medicine is no longer needed for the illness for which it was prescribed, it should be turned in. Medicines may lose their effectiveness after the expiration date, the state noted, and improper use of prescription drugs can be as dangerous as illegal drug use.

Last year, 70 percent of controlled substances that were brought into the take-back program were identified as narcotic/pain killers.

If children or the elderly live with you, having unused and expired medicine in your home increases the risk of accidental poisoning.

Family members may mistake one type of medicine for another, and curious children may mistake medicine for candy.

Don’t throw old medicine in the trash or flush it down the toilet — get rid of it properly on Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Maui Police Department parking lot at 55 Mahalani St. in Wailuku.

This service is free and anonymous — no questions asked. Tablets, capsules and all other solid dosage forms will be accepted.

“This year’s DEA National Take-Back Event for prescription drugs on Oct. 29, 2011 will also coincide with DEA’s Red Ribbon Week, which is a week-long initiative to raise awareness of drug use and the problems related to drugs facing our community. It encourages parents, educators, business owners and other community organizations to promote drug-free lifestyles,” said DEA Special-Agent-in-Charge Robin Dinlocker.

“Red Ribbon Week and this year’s National Take Back Event give us all a great opportunity to highlight that living drug-free starts at home by ensuring unused, unneeded or expired medications are properly stored and disposed.”

Visit www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com for more information about Red Ribbon Week and www.justice.gov/dea/ for details on this year’s National Take-Back Event.