By MARY ANN GREIER
SALEM - Area residents can clear their medicine cabinets of expired, unwanted and unused medications during a drug take-back event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Salem Medical Center, 2094 E. State St., across from Salem Community Hospital.
The event known as the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is sponsored nationwide by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in a no questions asked, no identification requested format.
New this year is the fact that local residents won't even have to get out of their cars. Law enforcement officers will take the medications and volunteers on hand may ask how the resident heard about the event and how valuable they think the event is.
Salem Police Chief Bob Floor said there are a lot of people who have old
WHAT:?Drug Take-Back Event
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
WHERE:?Salem Medical Center
prescriptions that either drug abusers or children could come across and end up taking. With a child, he said the result could be catastrophic.
Officials don't want people throwing their old medications in the garbage or down the drain, either, with Floor noting that in some places there has been evidence of drugs getting into the water supply that way. Not here in Salem, but he read that it happened somewhere else.
By taking the drugs to a drug take-back event, they're taken out of circulation and properly destroyed. Whether it's intentional on the part of abusers, or unintentional on the part of kids, he said they don't want people taking these drugs who shouldn't be taking them or taking them in ways they should not be used.
Previously, the event was held at city hall with police officers collecting the medications. No liquids or aerosols were allowed because the DEA won't collect those. Floor said this year is different because of the number of sponsoring organizations and because of a relationship with Heritage-WTI, the hazardous waste incineration company in East Liverpool. Now they can take liquids and aerosols and WTI will dispose of them according to federal protocol.
He suggested that any personal identifying information be removed from the original containers or that pills be placed in another container with no personal information on it. Capsules, tablets, liquids, aerosols, creams and ointments will be accepted.
"I strongly encourage anyone with any of these old medicines they need to get rid of to please take advantage of this opportunity," Floor said.
A second location is available for residents in the southern end of Columbiana County, at the main entrance to East Liverpool City Hospital, 425W. Fifth St., East Liverpool, also from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
This will be the fourth nationwide collection event. Last fall, more than 188.4 tons of unwanted prescription medications were dropped off nationwide for safe and proper disposal.
Besides the Salem City Police Department, the two hospitals and Heritage-WTI, local sponsoring organizations include the ADAPT Coalition, Columbiana County Drug Task Force, Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, East Liverpool City Health Department, Salem City Health Department, Family Recovery Center and the St. Clair Township Police Department.
For information about the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, check the DEA website at www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov.