Thursday, September 21, 2017

Prescription Drug Take Backs

Prescription drug abuse is a growing concern in Iowa, due to the misuse of prescription painkillers (opioids), anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medicines, stimulants, and others medicines.  When not used as directed, controlled substances can lead to behavioral disorders, addiction and even death.  This is also true of heroin, increasingly used by some as a substitute for opioid pain medicine.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take in your home and community to help prevent prescription and opioid drug abuse.  By monitoring your medicines at home and disposing of them in a safe manner (not flushing), you can prevent the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs and protect Iowa’s water supply.

You have three options to properly get rid of unneeded over the counter and prescription drugs locally as outlined below.

1.      “Take Back Kiosks” (BEST!): More than 50 local law enforcement centers and community pharmacies have established permanent Take Back collection boxes, and the number of sites is growing. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office now offers this service.  The Kiosk is in the entry way and is available during normal Sheriff’s Office hours.  This program allows you to dispose of all medications (prescription, over the counter, controlled and non-controlled).  It does NOT allow for the disposal of inhalers, sharps/needles or liquids.  In the first week the Sheriff’s Office took back 21 pounds of medications and disposed of them with the help of the local DEA Office in St. Louis, MO. 
2.      “Iowa Pharmacy Association’s “Take Away” program” (Better): Lee Pharmacy has this program available for non-controlled substances.  Just stop in to the pharmacy and they will be able to help you understand how their program works. 
3.      “Take Back Events” (Better…but you may have to wait): Twice each year, on a Saturday in the Spring and Fall, law enforcement agencies team up with local organizations in over 100 Iowa communities to sponsor a special one-day collection of unused medicines.  Details typically are provided closer to the dates of these events, but general information is available at the DEA's Website:

For more information on how to dispose of your medications safely please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or

Information provided by the Iowa Office of Drug Control Policy.  

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