COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohioans looking to ditch prescription pill bottles collecting dust in their medicine cabinets will soon have a chance to safely dispose of their unwanted medications.
Central Ohio law enforcement agencies will collect prescription drugs at hundreds of area locations Saturday to encourage the safe, anonymous disposal of medications on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 22nd biannual National Drug Take Back Day.
“Disposing of unneeded medications can help prevent drugs from being misused,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a news release. “Overdose deaths continue to hit tragic record highs. I encourage everyone to dispose of unneeded prescription medications now.”
Citing a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the DEA said that the majority of people who misused prescription medications obtained the drugs from a family member or friend.
By dropping off unwanted medications at law enforcement stations and participating Kroger and Meijer stores, the DEA said Ohioans can prevent further prescription drug abuse. The DEA discourages people from throwing medicine in the trash, as it can be retrieved and abused.
“Working in close partnership with local law enforcement, Take Back Day has removed more than 15 million pounds of medication from circulation since its inception. In October of 2021, we collected nearly 23,000 pounds of unwanted prescription medication in Michigan,” DEA Columbus Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michelle Spahn said in a news release.
At the No. 47 rank relative to other U.S. states, Ohio has one of the highest drug overdose death rates in the country, with 47.2 of 100,000 Ohioans dying from an overdose in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a March news release that drug drop-off events not only combat drug abuse but also prevent people from flushing drugs down the toilet – which he said is not environmentally friendly.
“There’s no better way to reduce the risk of these drugs ending up in the wrong hands,” Yost said. “We’re going to continue to do our part by providing Ohioans with regular opportunities to clean out their medicine cabinets and discard anything that’s expired or no longer needed.”
Ohioans are throwing out unwanted prescription drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. For a list of nearby participating locations, enter your zip code or other address information at the DEA’s collection site locator.
In Hilliard, police say they always have a pill collection box in their lobby year-round.