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Each April and October, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency holds a national “Drug Take-Back Day” that allows people to drop off unused medications at authorized locations. But, these locations are only able to accept the medications on those two days, and pharmacies are not allowed to take old medications without a law enforcement partnership.
Last April, Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes joined with the Alabama Pharmacy Association to create plans for permanent drop-off locations in the county. The association identified the pharmacies and helped them with the process of becoming authorized collectors.
Hughes’ office funded the cost of collection kiosks that are now located in four community pharmacies. Unwanted medications are collected in the kiosks and the pharmacies must follow a specific procedure in preparing the medications to be sent to facilities to be incinerated.
“As Alabama continues to fight the opioid crisis and illegal drug abuse, we are fortunate in Lee County to have our local District Attorney, Brandon Hughes, who goes that extra step by working with our local pharmacies to provide a safe and effective method to dispose of unwanted medications,” said Bobby Giles, APA government affairs director. “Unused prescription medications are not easily disposed of and often end up in the hands of someone other than the intended patient. Medications can be safely relinquished at these pharmacies to ensure they do not end up in the wrong hands, in our landfills, or even our water supply.”
Beauregard Drugs and Bubba’s Medicine Shop in Opelika, Crossroads Pharmacy in Smiths Station and Our Home Pharmacy in Auburn are authorized collection sites in Lee County. Year-round collection sites address a crucial public safety issue. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that most abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. These Lee County pharmacies are now poised to help.
“Drug abuse and the opioid crisis in Alabama is real, and proper disposal of medications is a major step to address this problem,” Giles said. “We appreciate the opportunity to help combat drug abuse and the ability to work with local pharmacies and law enforcement to find ways to continue to make our communities safer.”
The Alabama Pharmacy Association is a nonprofit professional organization with more than 2,500 members statewide. Members take a leading role in lobbying for pharmacy at the state and national level.
The association was established in 1881, and is the oldest professional organization for pharmacy in the state. Members represent all practices of pharmacy and are committed to their profession and their patients.
For more information, call 334-271-4222 or visit www.aparx.com.