Health officials advise how to dispose of prescription meds ahead of National Drug Take Back Day

Health officials advise how to dispose of prescription meds ahead of National Drug Take Back Day

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - With more than 70,000 drug overdoes reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 2017, it’s important to know when and where you can safely dispose unwanted or unused prescriptions.

National Drug Take Back Day is this Saturday and there are many places you can go to drop off your medications.

In 2017 more than 1,100 Georgians and over 400 Alamabians died from opioid overdoses according to National Institute on Drug Abuse. Now officials are spreading the word to show people how to get rid of the old prescriptions wasting space in their medicine cabinet.

“So globally there are over 270 million addicts worldwide, and 7 people die every minute," said Randae Davis. "Georgia is the 11th in the country for opioid abuse, and in 2017, more than 70,000 people died in the United States as a result of drug overdose.”

Davis is one of the vice presidents at Columbus Teen Challenge which helps people around the world overcome drug and alcohol addictions. They’re partnering with the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office and several other agencies to participate in National Drug Take Back Day this Saturday.

“We couldn’t believe how many people were in need of getting rid of expired and unused prescriptions and over the counter medications,” said Pamela Kirkland with the Columbus Health Department.

There will be locations all over the Chattahoochee Valley for people to drop off their unused or unwanted medications. The first drop-off site will pop up ahead of the national event this Thursday on the corner of Talbotton Road and Comer Avenue near the West Central Health District building in Columbus.

“And it’s going to be like a drive-through," Kirkland said. "You don’t even have to get out of your car.”

Kirkland said everyone can remain anonymous while dropping off their prescription or over the counter drugs. On Thursday they’re even accepting gels, liquids, and needles.

“The face of addiction has changed dramatically throughout the U.S.," Davis said. "It’s no longer the homeless person sitting on the street corner. It’s someone that you work with that was over-prescribed opioids or other drugs that they’re now dependent on.”

Copyright 2019 WTVM. All rights reserved.