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Safely dispose of old prescription drugs

By Staff | Apr 19, 2012

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and state agencies are again warning Maui residents about a danger present in many homes.

The Hawaii Department of the Attorney General, DEA and State Narcotics Enforcement Division are coordinating the fourth National Take-Back Initiative.

This campaign urges residents to safely dispose of expired or unused prescription medications.

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, and improper use of prescription drugs can be as dangerous as illegal drug use.

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

Don’t throw old medicine in the trash or flush it down the toilet – get rid of it properly on Monday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to noon at Kaiser Permanente’s Lahaina Clinic; April 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Wailuku Clinic; Tuesday, April 24, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Kihei Clinic; and April 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Maui Lani Clinic. For more information, call (808) 432-5549.

Maui Police Department will also host a Take-Back day in its parking lot at 55 Mahalani St. in Wailuku on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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

This is a great opportunity for those who missed previous events, or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted or unused prescription drugs, to safely dispose of the medications.

Nationally, DEA has collected a total of 995,185 pounds (498.5 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,327 Take-Back sites available in all 50 states and U.S. territories during the past 13 months.

Since September 2010, Hawaii has collected a total of nearly 4,300 pounds of expired and unused prescription medications.

With each effort, the number of pounds collected has increased in the state. As a result, all three agencies agree that the initiative is a success.

For more information, visit www.hawaii.gov/ag, www.justice.gov/dea or www.hawaii.gov/psd.