Operation Safe Return gives residents chance to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs

With rising concerns of prescription drug abuse in the community, residents will have an opportunity to drop-off old and unwanted drugs before they end up in the hands of addicts, or worse, create new addicts.

On Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency will play host to a "drug take-back day" at the Wayne County Justice Center, located at 201 W. North St., as part of "Operation Safe Return."

The program was established locally in 2009 and is a free drop-off program held with the help of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Anyone with expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs is encouraged to bring them in for free with no questions asked.

Liquids, needles or sharps cannot be accepted; only pills or patches.

Don Hall, director of Medway, said the local drug agency has collected over 7,000 pounds of prescriptions since 2009. A take-back day earlier this year netted over 2,800 pounds of unwanted prescriptions.

Patricia Bintliff, with Medway's pharmaceutical diversion unit, said this weekend's program will be the last hosted by the federal DEA.

The federal drug agency released new regulations to safely dispose of prescription drugs. Bintliff explained the DEA previously required certified law enforcement officers as the lone designated group that could take possession of controlled substances. But now, hospitals, pharmacies and other authorized collection areas will be able to accept unwanted prescriptions.

A full list of authorized drop-off areas is available at dea.gov.

Both Bintliff and Hall said Medway's programs will likely continue though and deemed them a success.

"(These operations) prevent the diversion of prescriptions from getting into the wrong hands," and possibly causing unintended overdoses, Bintliff said.

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