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DEU to dispose of old, unneeded drugs

4/24/2014

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

It's not a good idea to leave unused or outdated prescription drugs around the house, and it sure isn't a good idea to simply toss them into the trash or flush them down the drain.

That's why the Ellis County Drug Enforcement Unit will be manning two drop-off sites from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

This year, said Ellis County Sheriff's detective Chuck White, the Hays Good Samaritan Center at 27th and Canal will be staffed by a member of the Hays Police Department.

White, a member of the DEU, will be ready to take the items in the north parking lot of the Law Enforcement Center.

The take-back program is free and anonymous, he said, and will accept pills, capsules and liquids in bottles.

A year ago, during the spring take-back program, a single drop-off site collected 136 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter medicines, nearly double the amount a year earlier. This year, there are more than 500 take-back sites in Kansas.

"We cannot take needles, and we're not supposed to take inhalers," White said of the program.

Organized by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, items collected are packaged and sent to St. Louis, where they will be incinerated.

"We don't ask where they came from," White said of the drugs, and the items don't have to be in their original containers to prevent anyone from seeing names or prescription numbers. "It truly is anonymous."

White, however, said a woman recently brought in a bottle of pills she first received in 1967, but was not sure what to do with them.

Flushing unused medications down the drain presents an environmental hazard, he said, as the active ingredients have been found in water supplies.

Throwing items in the trash is a risk because drug users can pick them out and abuse them.

Prescription drugs, especially pain killers, are the most abused drugs.

"You don't have to know a drug dealer," White said. "You just have to know someone who is getting pain killers."

That's why White is ready to get as many drugs out of homes as possible.

Collection sites also will be open at:

* Colby, in the Thomas County Law Enforcement Center.

* Goodland, at the Sherman County Sheriff's office.

* Norton, at the Norton County Sheriff's office.

* WaKeeney, at the Trego County Sheriff's office.