The Sherman and Denison police departments will each accept expired and unused medications this Saturday as part of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in both cities. Participants in Sherman can drop their medications off in the Sherman Town Center parking lot off U.S. Highway 75 or in front of the Sherman Police Department’s headquarters at 317 South Travis Street. Denison Police will accept drop-offs at the SNAP Center, located at 530 West Chestnut Street. Accepted items include prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as liquid medications in sealed containers.
“This gives people the option to get rid of old or unwanted prescriptions, medicines and pills and so forth,” Denison Police Lt. Mike Eppler said. “We actually get calls all throughout the year from people wanting to know what to do with the unused medications.”
Eppler said while many people might be inclined to simply throw their old medicines in the trash or flush them down the toilet, the chemicals and compounds within those medications can have harmful effects on the environment.
“If you throw away these things improperly, it becomes an environmental hazard,” Eppler said. “You can end up putting those substances in the water supply, or, if it gets in the trash, it’s going to end up in the ground. It’s definitely not a safe way to dispose of these items.”
According the DEA’s Drug Take Back website, the program’s overarching goal is to keep unused medications out of the wrong hands. In 2016, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that an estimated 6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs.
Sherman Police Sgt. Brett Mullen said though many people might believe their medications are secure so long as they’re kept in a bathroom cabinet, that’s not always the case.
“A lot of the time, people, unwittingly, have their medications stolen from them or sometimes even their own kids or family members will take them,” Mullen said.
And the DEA reports there are plenty of unused drugs still out there. Law enforcement agencies across the country collected a combined 950,000 pounds or 474 tons of unused medications earlier this year after participating in the first National Drug Take Back Day of 2018 in April.
While officials will accept a host of medications on Saturday, needles, syringes and injectable cartridges will not be permitted. Mullen said illegal drugs are also prohibited and anyone caught trying to drop them off could face criminal charges.
“If you wanted to bring in your illegal drugs and you did that, then it is possible that you could be taking a trip to jail,” Mullen said.
For additional information about National Drug Take Take Day, call the Sherman Police Department at 903-892-7290 or the Denison Police Department at 903-465-2422. To find additional collection sites, visit www.takebackday.dea.gov.