People encouraged to clean medicine cabinet and drop-off old medicine to police

POSTED: 6:27 PM Sep 29 2012
Police and pharmacists collect unwanted medication throughout region Saturday

A nationwide effort to clean your medicine cabinet of old and unwanted prescriptions the right way is designed to keep the medicine out of the wrong hands. News 5 stopped at one drug take back event and learned it keeps homes safe, as well as mother nature.

It's definitely not your typical drive thru, at one set up outside of the Johnson City Police Department folks were dropping off, instead of picking up. "[We're] hoping that people will clean out their medicine cabinets and bring us their unwanted, unused medications," said Sergeant Van Mominee with JCPD.

Things like cough syrup, prescription pain killers, old syringes, even your pet's medication were all being collected. Just so it could be disposed of the right way and the drugs collected will be burned.

"I'm getting rid of bad things to have them no longer in my house where my grandkids can get a hold of them," said Angela Thompson.

Police say drug take back events keep the streets safer. "Once they bring it [unwanted medication] to us, there is no danger of these narcotics or drugs of any kind, getting out on the streets into the wrong hands and being used for purposes other than what they were intended for," added Sergeant Mominee.

But turning in those old meds can actually keep you healthier. "Any kind of prescription is going to have an expiration on it and there are a couple of reasons to get rid of it after they're expired, one they may not work anymore," said pharmacist Nick Hagemeier.

And some people choose to give back their medicine to keep mother nature healthy. "I care about the Earth and I certainly do not want these medications getting into the water system," added Thompson.

If you missed Saturday's event, many law enforcement agencies in our region have permanent drop-off boxes in their offices. To find out what's safe to dispose of and where, you'll want to give them a call.