New prescription medication disposal system coming to Missouri

2 years 9 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, July 28 2015 Jul 28, 2015 Tuesday, July 28, 2015 4:05:54 PM CDT July 28, 2015 in News
By: Jenna Middaugh, KOMU 8 Reporter

JEFFERSON CITY - A new prescription drug disposal system is on its way to Missouri.

A drug abuse prevention group, ACT Missouri, has ordered more than 3,500 Deterra Drug Deactivation System bags. ACT Missouri Public Information Officer Natalie Newville said Thursday some bags have already come into ACT Missouri's office in Jefferson City, and she expects the rest to be delivered to the 10 regional support centers around the state soon.

Newville said people can put their prescription medications into the bags, which are easy to use.

"You add water, seal it and then you can throw it away. It's safe for the environment, and it disposes of the medication in a safe manner," Newville said.

Deterra's website said the bags work by using activated carbon, which bonds to the pharmaceutical compounds and deactivates the drugs.

Newville said the bags ACT Missouri ordered are industrial size.

"They take up to 450 pills," she said. "So those will be used to work with police stations who have an overflow of prescriptions in their evidence rooms, to dispose of those, so that hopefully we don't run into the problem of police stations unable to take more. Or if we can get rid of some of the backlog, hopefully they can start accepting more prescriptions again."

Both the Jefferson City and Columbia police departments have stopped accepting prescription medications.

Columbia Police Department Public Information Officer Bryana Larimer said CPD stopped collecting prescription medication June 2.

"My understanding is that an employee with the Department of Natural Resources had visited our department and had determined that our incinerator was not up to environmental standards," she said. "So at that time it was determined we had to remove it from the lobby."

Larimer said people from the community used the disposal bin often.

"It was surprising to me when I first started here the amount of calls we would get just ensuring that we still had the disposal bin in our lobby and at that time we did, and a lot of people did utilize it," she said.

Newville said, in addition to the industrial-size bags, Deterra also makes smaller, individual bags.

"The ultimate goal would be for us to work with pharmacies across Missouri to be able to provide those, so you know, if they give a prescription of oxytocin they also give that individual bag," she said.

Newville said it's important to throw away prescription medication because young people can get it and abuse it. She also said sometimes it's easy to confuse prescription medications.

"There's also the case, if you have medicine in there that you don't know what it is, sometimes you can take the wrong medication, or sometimes the elderly, you know, if they have a lot of pills, they can get those medications confused," she said. "So it's really important not to have that."

Newville said Missouri has collected more prescription medication over the years because people were more educated about the danger of prescription medication, and there were more opportunities for people to throw away their medications.

"When we first started really working on prescription take back in 2010, Missouri collected a little over 5,000 pounds of prescription medication. And now in 2014, we collected over 33,000 pounds," she said. "So people understand now that you don't want to just flush your medication down the toilet, you don't want to just leave it in your cabinet where your kid might be able to get to it."

People in Columbia can drop off their prescription medications on the first and third Saturday of every month at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center at 1313 Lakeview Avenue through November 21.

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