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DEA, Toronto aim to dispose of expired meds

April 23, 2012
By MARK J. MILLER - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

TORONTO - The City Police and federal Drug Enforcement Agency are teaming up to enable citizens with expired medications to safely dispose of them.

The prescription medications can be disposed of by them dropping off from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Riley Plaza, 1361 Franklin Ave. The program will include City Police officers manning disposal bins provided by the DEA. The public can bring in the expired medications "with no questions asked," according to police Chief Randy Henry.

"Cardinal Health organized this, along with the DEA," said Henry. "A police officer has to be onsite - that's according to the DEA. John Riley (owner of Riley Plaza) is letting us use a vacant building at the plaza where (retail store) Sundance Flag used to be."

According to a press release from the DEA, the idea is to dispose of expired medications so they won't be abused.

"Medications that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse," the release reads. "Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised the usual method for disposing of unused medications - flushing them down a toilet or throwing them in the trash - pose potential safety and health hazards."

Henry agreed, adding some city residents have brought to the police station medications of deceased members of the family. He added the program also enables to the public to dispose of medications safely and away from potential abusers.

"If (expired medications) are left around, kids can get to them," he said, adding prescription drug abuse in the city is a problem. "The temptation is there. People sometimes take them to school, pass them out and then get sick. People can become very sick from taking expired medication."

Henry also said the service is free and confidential. For information, call (740) 537-1591.

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