By Andy Hallman, The Union
FAIRFIELD – Fairfield Hy-Vee will host a drug take-back event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will provide the public the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.
The public is invited to bring such drugs to Fairfield Hy-Vee Saturday, but the site will only accept pills and patches and not liquids, needles or sharps. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
There are two locations residents can take their unused prescription drugs all yearlong. One of them is the Hy-Vee Pharmacy, which accepts pills during its normal business hours. The other is NuCara Pharmacy, located at the Jefferson County Health Center.
Fairfield Hy-Vee store director Thomas Bryan said the drug take-back program has been successful at his store.
“We want to collect them to avoid potential problems in the future,” he said. “It’s good to clean out the cupboard so kids don’t get into them or somebody grabs them by accident.”
Bryan said Hy-Vee takes the unused pills to a facility that safely destroys them. He mentioned that it’s not good to throw the pills in a typical trash can or flush them down the toilet because those are not safe ways of disposing of them.
Jefferson County normally offers this drug take-back program twice a year, but the spring take-back was canceled due to COVID-19. This is the only drug take-back that will be offered in 2020.
According to a news release from the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office, Americans turned in nearly 883,000 pounds of prescription drugs last fall at nearly 6,300 sites operated by the DEA and almost 5,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. DEA, along with its law enforcement partners, has now collected nearly 6,350 tons of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications since the inception of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative in 2010.
The initiative again includes vaping devices. To help combat the continued vaping health crisis across the country, DEA will be collecting vaping pens and cartridges at all collection sites, including the Fairfield Hy-Vee Pharmacy. (Sites cannot accept pens with batteries in them or batteries that cannot be removed.)
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. 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.
To find other authorized collectors in the region beside Hy-Vee and NuCara, visit the DEA’s year-round collection site locator. The FDA also provides information on how to properly dispose of prescription drugs.
For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the Saturday’s Take Back Day event, go to www.DEATakeBack.com or contact the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at (641) 472-3576.