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How to safely dispose of unneeded, expired medication at home

CORNING, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is held twice a year, once in April and once in October.

Saturday's upcoming event is an opportunity to get rid of old, unused medications. It gives fellow community members a chance to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths, but if you can't reach any of the participating locations on the 28th, there are safe at-home methods you can utilize. 

Local law enforcement agencies serve as drop-off sites for individuals to safely discard expired or no longer used medications. 

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs in 2015 with most taken from family and friends. Many times, they're taken right from the home medicine cabinet.

It's why Pathways Incorporated, a human services nonprofit organization, is trying to educate the public on safe disposal methods ahead of Take Back Day. 

Pathways is informing the community with a grant it received by creating and distributing brochures - a small yet effective tool. 

"It's very important for us to continue to support community nursing," Stephanie Miller, the executive vice president of public relations and development, said. "We have an excellent resource on staff who applied for the grant, received the grant, pulled together all of the information and did a lot of work to research proper ways to dispose of prescription medication."

The first method offered on the brochure is to put the medication into a sealable bag then fill it up with cat litter, coffee grounds, warm water, or dirt. Seal it up and throw it in the trash.

Another method suggests to place needles in a puncture-proof container like a detergent bottle, label it 'SHARPS' then throw it out. 

Lastly, destroy all personal information on the prescription bottle and throw it away. 

"We just feel that it's very important and part of our mission to help educate the community in a multitude of ways and this just happens to be one of them," Miller said. 

April's take back day collected over 900,000 pounds of medications across the country. Saturday's event include the following sites:

Steuben County Public Safety Building
7007 Rumsey Street Extension 
Bath, NY 14810

Southport Volunteer Fire Department
1001 Carl Street 
Elmira, NY 14904

West Elmira Fire Department
1299 W. Water Street
Elmira, NY 14905

All hours are 10:00 A.M. until 2:00 P.M. 


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