Dropoffs scheduled for expired medicines

Dropoffs scheduled for expired medicines

CHAMPAIGN — Prescription and over-the-counter drugs you once bought and didn't use don't just take up extra space in your medicine cabinet.

They can be safety hazards that even careful families have failed to consider.

If you'd like to get rid of them, police and Walgreens will take them off your hands with a collection set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 28 at area Walgreens drugstores.

Walgreens will accept unwanted and expired medications but won't be able to take medical waste such as needles and syringes.

Just drive into the parking lot and turn your medications over at the collection box. A store manager and law enforcement official will be there, said Dee Cooley, administrative assistant at Walgreens district office in Champaign.

The box will be sealed, and the medications taken away by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which is the national sponsor of this fourth annual Drug Take-Back Day.

Some of the drugs you may want to get rid of haven't expired. They're just no good to you anymore, so why keep them around? For example, Cooley said, her husband has switched medications several times.

"I've got 14 different kinds of pills that are just no good," she said.

The DEA works with community partners to help rid homes of unwanted medications to help prevent drug dangers and abuse.

In three previous events, the DEA collected nearly 1 million pounds of prescription drugs at more than 5,300 sites across the U.S., the agency says.

Among the big hazards lurking in home medicine cabinets: painkillers.

Overdoses involving prescription painkillers are at epidemic levels, and now kill more people in the U.S. than heroin and cocaine combined, according to a report late last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the participating Walgreens conducting collections in the area are those at:

— 841 Bloomington Road, C.

— 302 E. University Ave., U.

— 104 N. Lombard St., Mahomet.

— 220 S. Century Blvd., Rantoul.

— 400 W. Fairchild Ave., Danville.

— 108 N. Market St., Monticello.

Comments

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xb wrote on April 21, 2012 at 9:04 pm

It seems like it is in Walgreens best interest that you get rid of pills you or a family member does not need right at present, so that if you get switched back to that medication you will have to pay for another fill.  It's tough to see (with minor exception of controlled substances) how having the medications is more dangerous when you are not currently taking it than when you are. This is sort of like saying having a saw blade that you used once and aren't using right now is a safety hazard. I guess if you get rid of the blade you are preventing a hypothetical kid from getting hurt on it, but it doesn't seem like that is always the most strategic idea.

If you lose your job or health insurance coverage, or have unexpected economic troubles, having suboptimal medications might be better than having none.

What would probably be best for an economically disadvantaged patient, which will never happen due to liability and legal issues, is if they collected medications and unexpired ones could be identified by the pharmacist and given to people prescribed that medication that cannot afford their prescriptions.  Unfortunately even if they could sign to the effect that they acknowledge that the medication was out of controlled conditions the laws are set up to not facilitate this in any sort of above board way.  Hence, people are inclined to save their medications.