Lawrence residents are invited to participate in the seventh iteration of a nationwide “Drug Take-Back Day” on Saturday, but those unable to make it to the two drop-off locations in the city that day won’t be without options.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Lawrence Police Department will again work with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration to collect expired, unused or unwanted prescription or over-the-counter drugs between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.
The second of two biannual take-back days this year, the event encourages the disposal of all solid dosage pharmaceuticals like tablets and capsules as well as select liquid products like cough syrup — which should remain securely sealed in the original container. The drugs can be deposited at either the short-term parking lot next to the county courthouse at 111 East 11th St., or at the Lawrence Police Department’s Investigation and Training Center at 4820 Bob Billings Parkway.
The last take-back day saw the city take in a record 875 pounds of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs in April, and in July Sheriff Ken McGovern started a year-round, five-day-a-week program for Douglas County residents. The Sheriff’s Safe Disposal Program has so far received more than 170 pounds of medications from more than 125 participants. Each week, unwanted medications can be dropped off at the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 East 11th St., between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
In calling on Kansas residents to participate in Saturday's National Drug Take-Back Day, the U.S. attorney for the District of Kansas, Barry Grissom, pointed out that twice as many Americans abuse prescription drugs as those who abuse cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants combined.
More than 6 million Americans abuse prescription drugs, Grissom said in a news release on Tuesday, adding that more accidental deaths are caused by drug overdoses than by car accidents.
"All of us need to empty our medicine cabinets of potentially dangerous expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs," Grissom said.
According to a joint statement by the sheriff's office and Lawrence police, inhalers, intravenous solutions, injectibles, needles or illegal drugs cannot be accepted. The service is free and anonymous, and all items are secured and collected by the DEA for destruction.