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    Protect your community; safely dispose of unused medications this Take Back Day

ROCHESTER, Minn. — In collaboration with the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office, Olmsted Medical Center, Zumbro Valley Medical Society and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Mayo Clinic will host a community drop-off event to collect unused or expired medications on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Anyone can anonymously drop off medications at Mayo's Gonda Building at the west entrance drop-off circle located at Third Ave. Southwest.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events are held twice a year — in April and October — in communities nationwide. People can drop off unused or expired medications — with no questions asked — for free and safe disposal.

"The Olmsted County Sheriff's Office and Violent Crimes Enforcement Team are proud to team up with Mayo Clinic and other community partners to participate in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day event," says Capt. Tim Parkin of the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office. "By properly disposing of unused drugs, people can contribute to the health and safety of their communities."

Those attending and dropping off unused prescription medication will also receive information about naloxone, which is used for emergency treatment of an opioid overdose.

"We will be sharing flyers so members of the community will get a chance to learn more about naloxone, which is an important reversal agent for anyone with a suspected opioid overdose and is now available over the counter," says Benjamin Lai, M.B., B.Ch., B.A.O., a family medicine physician and chair of Mayo Clinic's Opioid Stewardship Program.

DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Day events offer a safe, free and convenient means to dispose of unnecessary medicines stored in the home that can be susceptible to abuse and theft.

Medications, including controlled substances such as opioids, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens and anabolic steroids, will be collected.

Medications accepted for safe disposal at take-back locations include:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Ointments, patches, creams, inhalers and vials
  • Pet medications
  • Nonaerosol medications

Liquid medications must be in the original container. Vape pens and other e-cigarette devices are accepted with the batteries removed. 

Unused prescription drugs thrown in the trash can be retrieved, abused or illegally sold. Improperly disposing of medications by flushing them down the toilet poses a potential health and environmental hazard.

"The devastating effects of having unused drugs in our homes can include accidental ingestion by young children and pets, increasing the risk of controlled substances, such as opioids, being misused by any household members with access," says Dr. Lai.

Drug Take Back Day events also occur Saturday in other communities in Minnesota, Wisconsin and across the nation. For people who live outside Rochester, they can find a drop-off location by visiting the DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day website.

Community members unable to attend the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day event can dispose of medications safely anytime in 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 hours a day, 7 days a week.


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