Perhaps a leftover prescription from when Aunt Gladys visited for a week, or just some icky antibiotics the cat never finished. Whatever your unused medications may be, you need to dispose of them properly - and that doesn't mean flush them down a toilet or drop them in a trashcan.
On Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will take the public's potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Altadena residents can bring the meds to the LASD Altadena station – 80 E. Altadena Drive. The service is free and anonymous, and no questions will be asked, according to a LASD press release.
LASD Safe-Drug Drop-off boxes are also available 24-hours a day, seven days a week in front of several Los Angeles County Sheriff's patrol stations, including the Altadena Station.
Last April, Americans turned in 552,161 pounds—276 tons—of prescription drugs at over 5,600 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,300 state and local law enforcement personnel, the release states. In its four previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in over 1.5 million pounds—nearly 775 tons—of pills.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue, the release states. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.
Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Authorities say studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, many snatched right from the home medicine cabinet. Further, it is advised that a once-thought safe method for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—pose potential safety and health hazards.
In 2010, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act. It amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized to accept them by the Attorney General.
The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act. However, until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like SPPD and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.