Guilford County residents are encouraged to participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, on October 28, by bringing unwanted medication to collection boxes at Greensboro Police Department substations throughout the week.
The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a partnership among the Drug Enforcement Agency and local police departments to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating people about the potential for abuse of medications. Throughout the program’s seven-year existence, the DEA and its partners have taken in more than 8.1 million pounds—or 4,050 tons—of pills.
Although the official date for the event is Oct. 28, GPD is honoring the program by emphasizing the year-round availability of its three medication collection boxes for prescription Schedule II-IV pills, patches, ointments, and capsules. The box at 100 Police Plaza in downtown Greensboro is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Mondays through Fridays 8 am to 5 pm, items can be deposited in collection boxes at 300 South Swing Rd. and 1106 Maple St.
Prescription pills, patches, ointments, and capsules must be placed in re-sealable plastic bags. Over-the-counter drugs and pill bottles cannot be accepted. Liquids, medical bio hazards, sharps, and illegal drugs cannot be placed in the boxes.
Police officers empty the collection boxes and bring the unwanted drugs in sealed boxes to GPD’s Evidence Technicians to be incinerated. Annually, approximately 700 pounds of unwanted medication have been deposited in the boxes, preventing the drugs from being sold illegally or deposited in the water system.
The collection boxes address a vital public safety and public health issue. Before these boxes were installed, people had limited means of properly disposing of medication. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the US are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to unwanted drugs, according to the DEA. Studies show that most of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
In addition, the 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. If bringing unwanted prescription medication to collection boxes is not possible, to dispose of pills and liquids at home:
• Dissolve pills in water first.
• Then pour liquid medicines and/or water mixture into a bag of kitty litter, charcoal, or other unappealing material.
To dispose of sharp objects, put them in a sealed plastic bottle such as an empty soda bottle or laundry detergent bottle, and place in your household trash.
To find out about more disposal options, visit the Unwanted Medication webpage