• By Heather Carlson Kehren

Safely get rid of unwanted medications during Take Back Day

April 23, 2019
several prescription medicine bottles, some lying on their sides with pills and capsules spilling out

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Got a medicine cabinet full of expired or unwanted medications? Dispose of them safely during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 27.

Mayo Clinic has teamed up with the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, Olmsted Medical Center, Zumbro Valley Medical Society and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to sponsor a community drop-off location. The public can anonymously drop off unwanted medications in Rochester on April 27 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. CDT, at the Gonda West entrance on Third Avenue Southwest. Participants can drive up and hand off any medications. Officials with the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office and the DEA will dispose of the medication that is dropped off. More than 2,100 pounds of unwanted medications were collected in Rochester last year during two similar events.

More than 11 million Americans misused prescription opioids in 2017, according to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. More than half of those who misused prescription opioids got the drugs from family or friends. 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 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 around the clock every day of the year.

Alert to journalists: Journalists interested in covering the event are invited to arrive between 10–11 a.m. Mayo Clinic Ambulance paramedics who have experience treating drug overdose patients will be available for interviews. Also available for interviews will be representatives from Mayo Clinic, the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, Olmsted Medical Society and Zumbro Valley Medical Society.

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