Health & Medicine

Empty your medicine cabinets, drug takeback day is coming

How to dispose of unused medicines

What do you do with medications that have not been used or are out of date? FDA Drug Info Rounds pharmacists discuss medication disposal options and some special disposal instructions for you to consider when throwing out expired, unwanted, or unu
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What do you do with medications that have not been used or are out of date? FDA Drug Info Rounds pharmacists discuss medication disposal options and some special disposal instructions for you to consider when throwing out expired, unwanted, or unu

Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which means it’s time to dump your drugs.

Law enforcement officials throughout Sacramento will collect thousands of pounds of expired medications this weekend in an effort to keep pills out of the water source and away from children, pets and seniors. The local effort is part of a biannual U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency event.

There are 14 Sacramento-area sites participating in the one-day event, most of which are at county health, sheriff’s and police offices. Community members can drop off any controlled or over-the-counter medications anonymously, with no questions asked. Collection sites cannot accept needles and liquids.

There are also 20 year-round collection bins in Yolo and Sacramento counties, including one installed this week at the Sacramento Police Department’s Public Safety Center at 5770 Freeport Blvd. Before the new addition, the nearest bins for Sacramento residents were on the California State University, Sacramento, campus and at the Sacramento County Sheriff Service Center at 7000 65th St.

“People need to have disposal options available year-round, not just twice a year,” said Heidi Sanborn, executive director of the California Product Stewardship Council.

Sanborn and others have been pushing for legislation requiring pharmacies to collect expired medications on site, but have faced pushback from retailers because the cost of maintaining the bins and removing their contents is so high, she said. The Walgreens stores at 6144 Dewey Drive in Citrus Heights and 7299 Laguna Blvd. in Elk Grove are accepting household drugs.

The issue has become increasingly dire as opioid abuse deaths rise nationally, said Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Sacramento’s public health officer and member of a new opioid prevention task force.

Drug poisoning deaths in California reached an all-time high in 2015, and a rash of overdoses from the painkiller fentanyl struck the Sacramento area last spring. The majority of prescription drug abusers report that they obtain their drugs from friends and family, including from the home medicine cabinet, according to the DEA.

“It is an important public health issue, and we as the entire community need to come together to make sure that we keep medications out of the wrong hands,” Kasirye said.

Sammy Caiola: 916-321-1636, @SammyCaiola

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Among collection sites: Sacramento Police Department Public Safety Center, 5770 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento

Citrus Heights Police Department, 6315 Fountain Square Drive, Citrus Heights

North Natomas Branch Sacramento County Public Library, 4660 Via Ingoglia, Sacramento

Davis Police Department, 2600 Fifth Street, Davis

To find more collection sites, go to dea.gov or call 800-882-9539.

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