With opioid overdose deaths increasing during the pandemic, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announces its 20th National Take Back Day scheduled for April 24. At its last Take Back Day in October, DEA collected a record-high amount of expired, unwanted, and unused prescription medications, with the public turning in close to 500 tons of unwanted drugs. With studies indicating a majority of abused prescription drugs come from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets, clearing out unused medicine is essential.
The Winona County Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) will host a local branch of the national event at the Winona YMCA from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 24. It will be an outdoor, drive-through event where visitors can follow signs around the east end of the building. The public can drop off potentially dangerous prescription medications at collection sites, which will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations in order to maintain the safety of all participants and local law enforcement.
The Winona Police Department and its partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms of prescription drugs. They will also collect vaping devices and cartridges at the drop off location, provided lithium batteries are removed. Liquids (including intravenous solutions), syringes and other sharps will not be accepted but can be taken to the Winona County Hazardous Waste Facility (225 West Second Street). Its hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Helping people dispose of potentially harmful prescription drugs is just one way ASAP is working with local partners to reduce addiction and stem overdose deaths. “We have seen reported prescription drug misuse among eleventh graders drop from 10 percent to three percent from 2013 to 2019, and we will do what we can to keep this trend and overall accessibility down,” says Phil Huerta, program coordinator for ASAP.
Learn more about the event at www.winonacountyasap.org, or by calling 507-474-9825.