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PHD hosts National Prescription Drug Take Back Day event

| April 25, 2022 11:28 AM

Empty out your medicine cabinet this Saturday, April 30, during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

The Panhandle Health District is hosting a free and easy drive-thru drop off from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at their Hayden location, 8500 N. Atlas Road.

In Bonner County, the permanent prescription drug disposal site is the Sandpoint Police Department, 1123 Lake St.

“This is an important community event where parents, grandparents, those with children in the home, and anyone else can safely dispose of their unused medication,” said Malia Nogle, health education specialist at PHD and event coordinator. “I’m not just saying that as the coordinator of the event, but I am also a mother who wants to keep her own kids safe by taking this easy and convenient precaution.”

Drug Take Back Day is a simple and safe way to dispose of unused and expired medications. At the PHD Take Back event they will accept all unused and expired medication, not just opioids, in pill and liquid forms. The North Idaho AIDS Coalition will also be participating in the event and will accept sharps that need disposed of and have their mobile HIV testing unit on site. All services are free and anonymous, no questions asked. Additional community partners that will be at the event include Heritage Health Restored Paths, Ideal Option, and St. Vincent de Paul to offer their own resources and services to those who need it.

According to the Board of Pharmacy, in 2020 the North Idaho region was the second highest opioid prescribing region in the state. There were enough opioids prescribed that 88% of residents in the region could have their own individual prescription.

“Check your medicine cabinet. Are there any prescription pain medicines?” said Nogle. “If you’re no longer dealing with the issue for which these pills were originally prescribed, dispose of them as soon as possible so they don’t fall into the wrong hands.”

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, among people 12 and older, 3.4 percent (or 9.5 million people) misused opioids in the past year. Among the 9.5 million people who misused opioids in the past year, 9.3 million people misused prescription pain relievers and 902,000 people used heroin. The survey also showed that most misused prescription drugs were obtained from a friend or relative (i.e. being given them, buying them, or taking them without asking). In addition, Americans are now advised that certain methods for disposing of unused medicine – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Each year there are two Take Back Days, one in the spring and one in the fall. According to the Idaho Office of Drug Policy (ODP), the October 2021 Take Back Day resulted in the disposal of 2.3 tons (or 4,668 pounds) of medication in Idaho.

If you miss the event, there are several locations across the region that offer medication disposal services. To find a location near you, check the ODP website: https://odp.idaho.gov/prescription-drug-take-back-program/