Though prescription drugs play a crucial role in maintaining the health of those needing them, the Drug Enforcement Agency, noted on its website that more than 130 people die each day from opioid overdoses in the United States.
Moreover, last year, the number of children hospitalized for opioid poisoning increased three-fold, between 1997 and 2012, according to the agency.
As such, officials from the Nye County Sheriff’s Office are again participating in the Nation Prescription Drug Take Back Day coming up on Saturday, April 27, in the parking lot of Smith’s Food and Drug Store, from noon to 2 p.m.
Nye County Sheriff’s Office Evidence Technician Tammy McGill said the event gives local residents the opportunity to bring all of their unneeded and unused prescription drugs for disposal.
The five-year veteran of the sheriff’s office said individuals may also surrender illicit drugs, with no questions asked.
“Residents can also bring in illegal drugs such as crystal meth, heroin and marijuana,” she said. “Anything like that, we can get rid of if they no longer want it or they found it in their son or daughter’s room. They can get rid of it with us and there will be no danger of arrest because they are turning it in to us.”
Flushing is not a solution
Additionally, McGill spoke of the hazards of disposing of drugs down the toilet or dumping them in the trash can.
“The drugs end up seeping into the underground water aquifers, so people shouldn’t flush their drugs down the toilet or throw them in the garbage can,” she said. “But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, you can take the drugs out of the original containers, put them in either cat litter or coffee grounds. You then close it up, seal the container and put them in your trash can. You can also put a little water in it to break down the medications. Again, that’s according to the EPA.”
Take and bake
Once the drugs are taken possession of, McGill said they are eventually destroyed.
“We take the drugs, weigh them, and box them up,” she said. “We have a controlled incinerator which was donated to us by the attorney general’s office and we have a gentleman who volunteers for us, and he also weighs the box, then takes the drugs out of the box, places them in the burner and incinerates them. We received the incinerator about six months ago and we recently did some statistics for the attorney general’s office that show we burned 2,300 pounds of medications within a three-month period. Those drugs otherwise could have probably ended up on the streets or in the landfill, which is not good.”
No can do
Conversely, McGill spoke of drugs and items which the sheriff’s office cannot accept on Saturday.
“We cannot burn EpiPens or anything with mercury, chromium or psyllium,” she said. “We also cannot burn inhalers, liquids, glass, plastic containers, creams or gels. We don’t want the pill bottles either, so we’re going to have the people open their bottles, and pour the drugs into a container.”
For those who cannot make it to the event on Saturday, McGill said there are alternatives to dispose of medications throughout the year.
“They can drop them off in the drug disposal boxes at HealthCare Partners, here at the sheriff’s office in the evidence room and we also have a box at Desert View Hospital,” she said. “You can take them there anytime they are open, and I’m open here in the evidence room lobby Monday through Friday. We would prefer if they would just put the pills or drugs in a Ziploc plastic bag where they can seal it and then deposit them right in the box.”
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @pvtimes