By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
— This weekend, individuals will have a chance to safely dispose of outdated or unused medications.
Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The Gardendale Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office are both participating in the event Saturday. Personnel will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to accept medications for disposal.
The medications can be brought to the Gardendale Police headquarters in the Public Safety Center on Decatur Highway, or to the Center Point Sheriff’s Substation at the Jefferson County Satellite Courthouse, 2651 Center Point Parkway.
People can drop off prescription drugs with “no questions asked,” said Gardendale Police Chief Mike Walker.
Medications must be in their original containers. Individuals will be asked to remove the labels prior to turning the bottles in. Officers ask that liquid medications such as cough syrup be tightly sealed to avoid leakage.
The purpose of the initiative, according to Walker, is for people to safely dispose of prescription drugs in order to keep them out of the wrong hands.
“People that have prescription drugs shouldn’t just leave them lying around the house,” he said. “It’s not unheard of for people to break into houses to steal that sort of thing. And there is also a risk of young people using them inappropriately.”
Walker added that it is not recommended for people to flush medications down the toilet because they can be damaging to the environment and possibly get into the supply of drinking water.
An officer on duty during the take-back event will accept any prescription or over-the-counter medications. The process is anonymous; there is no paperwork to be filled out and nothing to sign.
“Illegal drugs are not a part of this,” Walker said. “If somebody turns them in, we will handle it in a different way according to our policy.
After the event, a DEA representative will collect the medications and dispose of them.