Our View

Prescription Drug Take-back Day necessary

-A +A

Know and Go:

What: Free Prescription Drug Take-back Day

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 28

Where: Lincoln Police Department, 770 7th St.

Materials accepted: Prescription and over-the-counter drugs, controlled substances and veterinary medications
Info: 916-258-2302 or

Placer County residents will be in good company April 28 as they drop off unneeded medications at 13 locations from Granite Bay to Loomis to Tahoe City.

Throughout the United States, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. that day, thousands of citizens will bring unused and expired medications to locations during the 15th National Medication Take Back Day. The semiannual day is sponsored by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

The total amount of prescription drugs collected nationally since the first semiannual day in fall 2010 is 9,015,668 pounds or 4,508 tons. 

Last year, 912,305 pounds or 456 tons were collected at 5,321 collection sites in the United States, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

Since Placer County started the Prescription Drug Take Backs in fall 2010, a total of 60,779 pounds of medication has been collected and removed from throughout the area. Placer County residents participating in this free Prescription Drug Take-back Day help in several significant ways.

Christina Ivazes, Coalition for Placer Youth director and Placer County health educator, gave four ways in which the day directly benefits the community.

First, it protects our youth and children from easy access, which reduces abuse or poisonings of medications, Ivazes said. Second, it protects our environment (soil, waterways, aquifers, animals). Third, it protects seniors from misuse and mistakes. And fourth, it reduces opioid addictions and overdoses by removing unused or outdated medications from homes.

Opioid deaths in the U.S. today are the leading cause of death for those under the age of 50, Ivazes pointed out.

“Opioids are one of the drugs collected during local take-back days,” Ivazes said.

National statistics indicate that more than 50 percent of those who abuse opioids get the pills from family and friends.

“Local law enforcement that confiscate prescription medications from youth say they most often find out that youth get their medications from their own homes and their grandparent’s homes,” Ivazes said.It is easy for anyone to enter a home as a friend or family member and steal a few pills without detection.”

The drug take-back day provides a safe place for residents to get rid of unneeded prescriptions. As Ivazes said, don’t wait for a rainy day because that only increases the opportunity for abuse.

“Until we have enough permanent drop-off sites for people to remove unused medications from their homes, these DEA take-back events two times a year provide the opportunity for people to easily rid their homes of these medications, thereby removing any fear of unwanted use or abuse,” Ivazes said.

Most of us know that removing old or no longer needed pills is common sense.

So why can’t residents just place their unneeded or expired medications in their garbage cans throughout the month? It takes a few seconds to drop unused, unneeded prescriptions in the garbage can at home instead of 20 minutes or so driving to a drop-off location on a Saturday every six months.

“Animal and plant life are adversely affected by pharmaceuticals, which can eventually end up in our bodies too,” Ivazes said. “Putting pills or other toxins in the toilet or garbage or burying in the soil, even in cat litter, are not safe disposal methods as they contaminate soil and water sources that humans, animals and plants all depend on.”

With that perspective, driving to a drop-off location April 28 makes it easy to personally help our communities. We can reduce the risk of prescriptions being used by addicts or youth, often with heartbreaking and deadly outcomes, by taking a few minutes out of a Saturday every six months to properly dispose of unneeded medications.