Local stores, hospital, ISP offer safe drug disposal Saturday

Local residents looking to properly dispose of prescription drugs have several options to do so Saturday.

The 26th nationwide “Prescription Drug Take Back” initiative sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration is set for Saturday. The initiative seeks to prevent prescription drug abuse and theft through proper disposal of prescription drugs, according to a news release from the Indiana State Police, which is partnering with the DEA for the initiative.

Collection sites will be set up nationwide for expired, unused,and unwanted prescription drugs which will be properly disposed of without threat to the environment. This program is for liquid and pill medications, but vaping pens without batteries and vaping cartridges will also be taken. Needles, new or used, will not be accepted for disposal, ISP says.

The service is free and anonymous with no questions asked, according to ISP.

For ISP, unwanted medications can be dropped off at any post — excluding the Toll Road Post. Locally, residents can drop off medications at the Indianapolis Post, 8620 E. 21st St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

But this is not the only location offering the service in and near Johnson County.

Meijer pharmacies will collect unwanted medications during their pharmacy hours, 10 a.m to 6 p.m, the company said in a news release. This includes their Johnson County locations at 2390 N. Morton St., Franklin, and 150 S. Marlin Drive, Greenwood.

Several Indiana Kroger stores are also taking part in the Drug Take Back Day, but none are in Johnson County. The closest participating store is just north of the county line at 8745 S. Emerson Avenue, Indianapolis, which will accept medications from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, according to a news release.

Local law enforcement officers will be on-site to accept unused or expired pills, liquids, gels and patches just outside stores, Kroger officials said. It is being hosted by Kroger Health and Cardinal Health.

Community Hospital South, 1402 E. County Line Road, Indianapolis, is also taking part from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to the DEA. More participating locations can be found at dea.gov/takebackday#collection-locator.

The DEA Drug Take Back initiative addresses a “vital “public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse, according to ISP.

Additionally, rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet, police say.

ISP officials added that Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — pose both potential safety and health hazards.