Hillsborough County collects thousands of pills during DEA Drug Take Back event

You can safely dispose of prescriptions at home

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. -- Thousands of pills are now off the streets and in the right hands thanks to folks who dropped them off at the D-E-A Drug Take Back events in Hillsborough County on Saturday.

“It’s bothers me that someone could possibly misuse these drugs, they can harm themselves because they may not even know what it is,” said Ron Day, who dropped off a grocery bag full of prescription drugs at the USF Morsani Center.

It is the first time Day went to a drug take back event. He says it was time to get rid of some pills.

“It’s accumulated over the last year from a automobile accident, painkillers, some antidepressants that didn’t work out, those kinds of things,” Day said.

Mitchell West, a 4th year pharmacy student at USF, says throwing pills away properly could save a life.

“If the kids get their hands on them, maybe they think they’re candy, or if the pets get them out of the trash,” said West. "Controlled substances are controlled for a reason. So if we can get them off the streets, it’s better for the environment and society as a whole.”

According to the Hillsborough County Anti Drug Alliance, four in ten teens believe getting high on prescription medication is not dangerous and one in five teens abuse prescription drugs.

If you could not make it out to the drug take back event, the FDA says you can mix certain medications with things like dirt, used coffee grounds or cat litter and dispose of them in your trash that way. 

Authorities say it is important to make sure they are in sealed bags or plastic containers before you put them in the trash.

You can also drop them off at a permanent location in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties.

“I think anything we can do to normalize a way to get rid of excess medications around the house is a good thing. It gets everyone into a routine of finding a way to dispose of them and it just becomes a part of natural life,” said Day.

There are also bags of activated carbon that help break down and deactivate prescription pills, so you can throw them away in your trash.

Deter allows you to mix up to 90 pills in a bag with warm water, reseal, shake and throw into the trash. You can buy similar products at your local pharmacy or drug store.

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