Do you have unused medication in the medicine cabinet you aren't sure how to properly dispose of? If so, the Tallapoosa County Drug Task Force has a solution with the latest Drug Take Back Box in Tallassee.
The Tallapoosa County Narcotics Task Force and Middle Tallapoosa Clean Water Partnership developed a program offering proper drug disposal available year-round.
"The safest and most environmentally safe way to dispose of the drugs is to participate in the Drug Take Back," Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said.
There are four boxes throughout Tallapoosa County, including inside the pharmacy at Superfoods in East Tallassee on Notasulga Road. There is also a box inside the Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Office in Dadeville, located at 316 Industrial Park Dr., and two boxes are available in Alexander City at the Tallapoosa County Courthouse Annex, located at 395 Lee St., and Hometown Pharmacy, located at 839 Airport Dr.
This initiative prevents pill abuse and theft by ridding homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused or unwanted medications. It also addresses a vital public health and public safety issue, as unused or unwanted drugs in homes are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse.
"We see it happen often," Tallassee police chief Matt Higgins said. "A patient will be prescribed a whole prescription of medication after a surgery and they may only take the medicine once or twice. Then they have almost an entire prescription just setting in the medicine cabinet which could ultimately end up in the wrong hands."
Most medications have a limited shelf life and should be disposed of after one year.
"As a general rule of thumb people should clean out their medicine cabinets at least once a year," East Tallassee Pharmacy pharmacist Courtney Nolin said. "Remove any expired over-the-counter medication and any medication that you haven't used in the last 12 months or no longer need. Include your medicine cabinet in your annual spring-cleaning routine."
Properly disposing of medications is also safer for the environment. Experts say flushing drugs down the toilet can cause serious environmental harm. Sewage and wastewater treatment plants are not designed to filter out these drugs and they ultimately discharge into ground and surface water. It has also been shown flushing antibiotics can kill the beneficial bacteria needed to operate sewage systems and personal septic tanks.
A study done by the United States Geological Survey showed 80% of the streams in the U.S. contain compounds found in common medications. Fish and other aquatic animals have shown adverse effects of medicines in the water.
Certain items can and cannot be dropped off at the Drug Take Back box:
• Prescription medications
• Over-the-counter medications
• Pet medicines
• Medicated ointments and lotions
• Liquid medicines in glass or leak-proof containers
• Needles, lancets, syringes
• Empty containers
• Bloody or infectious waste
• Personal care products
• Hydrogen peroxide