April 29 is drug take back day

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Drop off unused medications at one of several locations throughout Clayton County Saturday, April 29, for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) drug take back day. 

The Mar-Mac Police Department, Monona Police Department and Clayton County Sheriff’s Office will all accept medications from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

When dropping off items, make sure all substances are in their original containers. All liquid containers must be sealed in leak-proof, clear bags. Any identifying information should be marked out on prescription bottles. 

Unidentified medications will still be accepted, but Clayton County Sheriff Michael Tschirgi said people should try to place the medication in a container or baggy and label it the best they can.

In addition to prescriptions, medication samples and over-the-counter medications (vitamins, supplements and herbals), will also be accepted. Hydrogen peroxide can be dropped off, along with thermometers, which can be placed in a Ziploc or plastic bag. 

The DEA has held medication take back days twice-yearly, once in April and again in October, for the past seven years. Last fall, according to the DEA, Americans turned in 366 tons, or over 730,000 pounds, of prescription drugs at almost 5,200 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Since the initiative began, the DEA and its partners have taken in over 7.1 million pounds—more than 3,500 tons—of pills.

“It’s important to bring in medications if you’ve got a family member who might be apt to use or sell them,” Tschirgi said. “There’s also a safety aspect, keeping them from kids and grandkids.”

Rates of prescription drug abuse are growing, said the DEA. The number of accidental poisonings and overdoses from the drugs are on the rise, as well.

In an effort to combat the growing abuse of prescription drugs, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office established a permanent drop box earlier this year, thanks to a small grant from the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy. The drop box is located in the sheriff’s office lobby and is accessible to the public during regular business hours. So far, people have been utilizing it.

“People have been bringing in a lot of stuff,” Tschirgi said, noting that the drop box is checked every couple of weeks. The last time, he said, it was half full.

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