Dispose of unneeded medications safely

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, October 13, 2022

Overdose-related deaths are on the rise in Mississippi — and all too often, the cause can be found in household medicine cabinets. That’s why Mississippians are urged to safely dispose of unneeded medications by participating in the 23rd National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 29.

A variety of drug collection sites in Mississippi are open year-round for safe disposal of prescription medications. As a rule, unused medications should never be thrown in the trash or flushed down the toilet as they can pollute water and unintentionally expose others to the chemicals in these medications.

King’s Daughters Medical Center in Brookhaven has a disposal box available every day inside the Outpatient entrance of the hospital.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Make Mississippi OD Free provides a list of 101 disposal sites and information about overdose data, prevention and treatment at https://odfree.org/takeback.

“Overdose deaths continue to hit tragic record highs, but we can take action to prevent drugs from being misused by safely disposing of unneeded medications,” said Jan Dawson, program director, Mississippi Public Health Institute. “We’re asking Mississippians to locate a disposal site in their community and drop off potentially dangerous prescription medications as soon as possible.”

Overdoses are now the leading cause of death among U.S. adults 18-45. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 106,000 people died in the U.S. as the result of a drug overdose in the 12-month period ending November 2021, with opioid-related deaths accounting for 75 percent of all overdose deaths. A report from the Mississippi Opioid and Heroin Data Collaborative showed that drug overdose deaths in Mississippi rose by 49 percent in one year (2019-2020).

Most people who misused a prescription medication obtained the medicine from a family member or friend, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

For more than a decade, Take Back Day has helped Americans protect their families and loved ones by easily ridding their homes of unneeded medications — those that are old, unwanted, or no longer needed — that too often become a gateway to addiction. Working in close partnership with local law enforcement, Take Back Day has collected nearly 7,262 tons of drugs nationwide, with 27.8 tons collected in Mississippi.

On October 29, DEA and its law enforcement partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms of prescription drugs at designated drop-off sites. Liquids (including intravenous solutions), syringes and other sharps, and illicit drugs will not be accepted. DEA will accept vaping devices and cartridges, provided lithium batteries are removed.

Year-round receptacles are available at more than 13,000 pharmacies, hospitals, police departments and business. Additionally, with the passage of the DUMP Opioids Act in 2021, the public may now use drop boxes at Veterans Administration medical centers to dispose of controlled substance prescription medications.