Got drugs? DEA take-back day offers a safe disposal option
By Anna Dunbar
Have you ever participated in a drug take-back program? If not, what do you do with leftover medicines after you are over that awful head-cold or find some expired pain medicine? I was shocked to learn that some folks think it is a good idea to flush unwanted or expired medicine or put them in their trash. When flushed, medicines can end up in our waterways and can ultimately travel to Texas’ coastal ecosystems. It is possible that all the chemicals in the flushed medicines are now in our waterways. Why is that? Because wastewater treatment plants, where the flushed stuff goes, do not remove chemicals; the plants remove organic waste. So, the treated wastewater, which goes back out to the river may not be as safe and clean as we think. And, the wildlife that live in the water are now swimming in water that contains chemicals.
Obviously, flushing unwanted medications is not a good idea when much safer options are available for no cost.
This Saturday, April 28, residents will have an opportunity to clear their homes of expired or unused medications that drug enforcement officials say may pose a public health threat.
On April 28, 6 collection sites in Waco and surrounding cities will provide safe disposal of pills, tablets and capsules. There will also be two drive-by locations for easy disposal. One drive-by is at Fire Station #1 located at 100 Peach Street in Waco and the second is at Waco-McLennan County Health District at 225 W. Waco Dive. Both drive-by locations will have a peace officer present in the parking area to receive your items. Community members can drop off any controlled or over-the-counter medications anonymously, with no questions asked. Collection sites cannot accept needles and liquids.
What is accepted: Prescriptions/Over-the-counter medications, veterinary medications, vitamins, minerals and drug samples
What is NOT accepted: Oxygen Tanks, Needles or other sharps, Inhalers or thermometers, Nebulizers or IV bags
NEW Waco Drive-by locations (April 28, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
- Fire Station 1, 100 Peach Street
- Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, 225 W Waco Dr.
Waco Drop-off location (Starting Friday morning, April 27 and continuing through Monday morning , April 30)
- WACO POLICE DEPARTMENT, 3115 PINE AVENUE
Other locations (April 28, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
- BELLMEAD POLICE DEPARTMENT, 701 Maxfield Street
- HEWITT POLICE DEPARTMENT , 100 Patriot Court
- LACY LAKEVIEW POLICE DEPARTMENT, 503 E. CRAVEN AVE.
- LORENA POLICE DEPARTMENT, 100 N. BORDON ST.
- WOODWAY PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT, 920 ESTATES DRIVE
What if you are not available on April 28?
Your best option is to check the extended hours of the Waco Police Department location. If that does not fit in your schedule, hold on to the medicines until the next drug take-back day, which will probably be in the fall of 2018. Another option would be to give your items to a trusted adult for proper disposal at the April 28 event.
Thank you for choosing to do the right thing!
Anna Dunbar is the Operations Administrator for the City of Waco Public Works. She is responsible for informing Waco residents and businesses about recycling and waste reduction opportunities as well as solid waste services in Waco. Her husband is a Baylor professor and her daughter is a graduate student at Baylor University. She is an active member of Keep Waco Beautiful and The Central Texas Audubon Society.
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