KINGSTON TWP. – It's a sad and painful chore to clean out a loved one's home after death, having to make decisions as to what to donate, keep or dispose of. But when it comes to purging the medicine chest, what to do with all of the prescription and over-the-counter drugs has gotten a little easier. During National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, people had the chance to dispose of their unused or expired medications at various sites in Luzerne County.
Dumping the contents of a large bag into a barrel at the Kingston Township Police Department, Yvonne Eckman of Shavertown, said she was happy to find a place where she could take her deceased mother-in-law's medications.
"My daughter is a pharmacist and she said, ‘Mom, don't keep anything,' " said Eckman. "When we saw on the news they were having a collection, we were thrilled," she said. "I'm sure people throw medicine away all the time."
More than 30 pounds of drugs were collected in roughly two hours said Kingston Township police officer Frank Ziegler, as he guarded the barrel. "There's controlled substances in here," he said. "You can't leave this thing."
The free program is sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which incinerates the medications brought in during the drop off.
Ziegler said the drop-off procedure is highly confidential, and he offered a black permanent marker to anyone wishing to cross out personal information on the labels. "We're not allowed to count (the medicine containers) or look."
Janine Olshefski, of the Wyoming Valley Alcohol & Drug Services, was also on hand at to pass out information on prescription medicine and drug abuse.
This was the fourth year the township partnered with the DEA for the drop off program, said Ziegler, adding the most recent drop-off was held last April, during which 100 pounds were collected. For more information on how to safely dispose of medications, contact your pharmacy or visit the FDA's website: www.fda.gov.