Health department planning drug drop

The Jackson County Health Department will join law enforcement agencies nationwide April 29 as they partner with the Drug Enforcement Administration in collecting expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications.

Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the health department emergency trailer will be set up in the parking lot of the health department campus at 801 W. Second St., Seymour, to receive medications, including pills or patches, no questions asked, said Lin Montgomery, public health coordinator with the health department.

The drugs will then be taken into custody by officers with the Seymour Police Department for safe disposal. Liquids, needles or sharps cannot be accepted, but information regarding their proper disposal will be available.

The service is free and anonymous, Montgomery said.

In April 2016, Americans turned in 447 tons of prescription drugs at almost 5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners, including the Seymour Police Department. Overall, in its 11 previous events, DEA and its partners have taken in more than 6.4 million pounds — more than 3,200 tons — of pills, according to a news release.

This initiative addresses a vital public health and safety issue, Montgomery said.

“Many home and auto break-ins are the result of individuals seeking opioid-based prescription medications, and a take-back event is a way for many to appropriately and safely dispose of unused or expired drugs,” she said.

A take-back event also has an environmental impact by keeping many medications that might be flushed into the sewer system from getting into the water system.

There are a few recommendations to follow for those who wish to bring their medications to the health department April 29.

Remove all identifying marks — names, address, physician or other marks — from the prescription bottles.

Only pills and/or patches will be accepted.

No illegal drugs will be accepted.

No inhalers or iodine-containing medications will be accepted.

No diabetic sharps will be accepted. The health department has a sharps disposal program for Jackson County residents, and information about that program will be available at the event.

Mercury thermometers are another item that cannot be accepted but can be exchanged for a digital thermometer through another program that the health department provides.

If you go

What: Drug drop program for expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 29

Where: Jackson County Health Department campus, 801 W. Second St., Seymour

Cost: Free

Sponsors: Jackson County Health Department and Seymour Police Department

Information: 812-522-6474