Six bins and 181 pounds later, Lawrence residents have rid their medicine cabinets of old, expired and useless drugs.
More than 100 people stopped by the drop site for Take-Back Day at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2120 Harper St., bringing remedies from fish oil to Fioricet to dump into the six disposal containers. Some residents brought by two bottles of pills, while others brought them by the jar-full.
Pat Hubbell was on hand to help sort through the drugs and help dispose of them. Hubbell, a co-owner and pharmacist-in-charge of Sigler Pharmacy’s at 4951 W. 18th St., said there were many ways people gathered so many unused pills. Sometimes mail-order prescription services sent extra medicine. Other times family members would die, leaving hundreds of pills for no one to take.
“Some folks just take a lot of stuff,” Hubbell said. “Over time it just adds up.”
Khristine Lee, a Lawrence resident, collected unused medicine in her house and brought it by after reading about the new event, which was sponsored by the Douglas County Sheriff, Lawrence Police Department and other local agencies.
“Having grandchildren in the house, we want to be extra careful,” she said.
Hubbell said it was important to get controlled substances out of the house when they weren’t necessary.
“We’re getting stuff out of people’s medicine cabinets so they don’t make an error,” he said.
Julie Hayward brought in a large paper bag and a large plastic container of drugs to throw away, the most of anyone all day. Hayward, a Lawrence resident, prides herself on recycling as much as possible, including chemicals, paint and batteries.
“I recycle everything,” she said. “I also take stuff to the household hazardous waste facility.”
Hayward recently helped clean a friend’s house, where she found expired drugs. She also collected them from her family members, who wouldn’t have disposed of them properly.
“They’d trash them,” she said.
Old morphine, eye drops and even a prescription dated 1985 were included in the drugs that filled six containers, which a DEA agent took to dispose of in an incineration facility. This is the safe way to dispose of the drugs, rather than putting them in the trash or flushing them down the toilet, which can lead to harmful chemicals in the water.
Dan Dannenberg, Lawrence, only had two containers of pills to bring by, but they were two he didn’t need. He said the statistics of abuse and misuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs convinced him to get the extra medicine out of his house.
“It’s just a safe way to get rid of the pharmaceuticals you don’t need,” he said. “It keeps them from getting into the wrong hands.”