On Saturday, April 27, Decatur County Memorial Hospital and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public its 17th opportunity in nine years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs, National Rx Take back day.

Decatur County patients can now safely and securely dispose of unused medications using a medication disposal box located across from the pharmacy at Decatur County Memorial Hospital. The receptacle’s one-way drop door is open to accept deposits during the DCMH Pharmacy’s normal hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Items not suitable for deposit include:

• Needles (Sharps)
• Thermometers
• Contraband drugs
• Infectious Waste/Medical Waste
• Personal Care Products
• Business Waste
• Hydrogen Peroxide
• Aerosol Cans
• Inhalers
•Medicated Lotions/Ointments
•Liquid Medication in Leak-Proof Containers

In participation of Prescription Take back day, DCMH will be providing at-home prescription drug disposal bags to hand out to the community.  Simply add water to the mixture in the bags, put all your unwanted prescriptions inside and minutes later, they will be dissolved.  Instructions are also listed on each kit. These take-home kits will be available for pickup in the DCMH Pharmacy.

Last fall Americans turned in nearly 460 tons (more than 900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and almost 4,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 16 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in almost 11 million pounds—nearly 5,500 tons—of pills.

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 U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows year after year that the majority of misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else’s medication being stolen from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 27 Take Back Day, go to www.DEATakeBack.com.