The Jacksonville Police Department and Memorial Behavioral Health-Jacksonville are teaming up to support the national Prescription Drug Take-Back Day later this month.
Sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the day provides an opportunity for people to rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.
Local residents can dispose of their prescription drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Jacksonville Police Department, 200 W. Douglas Ave.
Staff with the police department and with Memorial Behavioral Health-Jacksonville will be in the parking lot, where people can drive up and hand over their prescription medicine.
“People don’t even need to park their cars,” said Patti Torchia, manager of Memorial Behavioral Health-Jacksonville.
People who arrive after the designated collection hours can discard their pills in a 24/7 drop box in the police department lobby.
The service is free and anonymous; no questions will be asked. The site cannot accept liquids or needles, only pills or patches.
“The majority of misused and abused drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else’s medication being stolen from the home medicine cabinet,” Jacksonville Police Chief Adam Mefford said. “Drug Take-Back Day addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.”
Memorial Behavioral Health-Jacksonville will also hand out magnets and provide information on medication safety and behavioral health.
“Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs,” Torchia said. “Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse.”
The usual methods by which many people dispose of drugs – flushing them down toilets or throwing them in the trash – pose safety and health hazards and are not good for the environment, Torchia said.
Last fall, Americans turned in more than 900,000 pounds of prescription drugs at sites operated by the DEA and state and local law enforcement.