• Mayo Clinic to host National Prescription Drug Take Back Day event

several prescription medicine bottles, some lying on their sides with pills and capsules spilling out

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Community members looking for a convenient way to dispose of prescription medications can get rid of them safely on Saturday, Oct. 27, as part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Mayo Clinic has teamed up with the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, Olmsted Medical Center and Zumbro Valley Medical Society to sponsor a community drop-off location. The public can anonymously drop off unwanted medications in Rochester on Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CDT at the Gonda West entrance on Third Avenue Southwest. Access the free drop-off site from Second Street Southwest by turning north onto Third Avenue Southwest and entering the circle drive to the Gonda West entrance. Participants can drive up and hand off any medications. Nothing needs to be signed. Officials with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Department will dispose of the medications that are dropped off. During a similar event in April, more than 1,100 pounds of unused medication were collected.

Members of the media may arrive at the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day event on Oct. 27 between 10 and 11 a.m. Halena Gazelka, M.D., chair of Mayo Clinic’s Opioid Stewardship Program, and Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson will be available for interviews.

October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. An estimated 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017, and most of those deaths involved an opioid. Safely disposing of unwanted medications is a simple way to help prevent drug abuse. However, most Americans do not know how to properly get rid of opioid pain relievers, according to the recent Mayo Clinic National Health Checkup.

Unused prescription drugs thrown in the trash can be retrieved and abused, or illegally sold. Medications that are improperly disposed of by flushing them down the toilet pose a potential health and environmental hazard. Proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment.

Community members unable to come to the National Prescription Drug Drug Take Back Day event can dispose of medications safely anytime at the prescription drug collection box at the Olmsted County Government Center. The box is in the vestibule of the Adult Detention Center and is accessible 24/7/365.


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