HOUSTON -- Although neither the Houston Police Department or the Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Department formally recognized National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday, Oct. 24, both Police Chief Billy Voyles and Chickasaw County Sheriff James Meyers said their departments have accepted various types of old or outdated prescription drugs, or drug related items, for destruction for many years, and will continue to do so.

Both men said in effect, every day can be drug drop-off day, and they’ll be happy to dispose of them, no questions asked.

“We’ve had people drop those kinds of drugs off at our department before, and we hope they’ll continue to any time they want. We’re glad to destroy them,” Chief Voyles said.

Added Sheriff Jim Meyers, “We had a booth set up on Take Back Day at the Sheriff’s Department for the past several years, but we didn’t have anything dropped off.

We’ve had drugs dropped off at other times, though, and we’re always happy to dispose of them,” he said.

The departments also accept -- no questions asked -- drug-related items such as syringes, needles or other sharp objects, inhalers such as those for asthma, aerosol cans, mercury thermometers, iodine-containing medications, Illegal drugs or substances (including marijuana which is still a schedule 1 drug under federal law), any prescription medications obtained illegally, and vaping related items.

Efforts to reach the Houlka Police Department for comment weren’t successful.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) hosts a no-questions asked National Prescription Drug Take-Back event twice per year.

Opioid abuse in the U.S. remains a top public health concern. Consumers should dispose of expired, unwanted, or unused medicines as quickly as possible to help reduce accidental or intentional overdoses or illegal abuse.

Both Chief Voyles and Sheriff Meyers urged people to follow healthcare providers’ instructions specifically for disposing of medicines if these were provided. With certain precautions, most, but not all, medications can be thrown in the trash. These include prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in pills, liquids, drops, patches, and creams.

Both men suggest people look at the package insert of the medication to see if special instructions exist for disposal.

To dispose of most medicines in the household trash: Mix medicines with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, used coffee grounds, or kitty litter. Take them out of their original container first. Do not crush tablets or capsules before mixing, Place the mixture in a sealed container (sealed plastic bag or empty can) to prevent the drug from leaking into the garbage, throw the container in the trash.

Protect your identity, both men say. Before you throw away the medication container or bottle, fully mark out any personal information such as your name, address, and prescription number to protect your privacy. Do not place prescription bottles with personal information in collection receptacles or mail-back packages.

Many, but not all, medications can be flushed down a toilet.

Residents of assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities and their family members should check with their community health care management team to learn the best way to dispose of used or unneeded medicines.

DEA provides a list of permanent (year round) Controlled Substance Public Disposal Locations for use when Take Back Days are not available. You can also find drop off locations by typing in "drug disposal near me" or "medication disposal near me" on Google Maps to find your nearest drug disposal site.

For more information, contact the DEA website, Houston Police Department or Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Department

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