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Expanded prescription drug take backs announced in Iowa to curb abuse; happens Saturday across the state

Cerro Gordo County Sheriff's were taking unused prescriptions at Walgreen's Saturday, April 27th, 2013
Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s were taking unused prescriptions at Walgreen’s Saturday, April 27th, 2013

DES MOINES – Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Drug Policy Office of Drug Control Policy Director Steve Lukan and other officials today urged Iowans to properly dispose of leftover medicines during next Saturday’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. They also announced a new State initiative to make more prescription drug Take Back collection sites available to Iowans on a year-round basis.

Saturday, Oct. 22 is the 12th biannual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. More than 100 sites in dozens of Iowa communities will collect unneeded medications at designated sites, no questions asked, Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Additionally, officials announced they are working to provide up to 100 permanent Take Back kiosks to community pharmacies and local law enforcement centers statewide, where secure user-friendly medicine disposal sites will be more accessible throughout the year.

“Most abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, which means Iowans who properly dispose of unused medicines at Take Back sites can prevent the diversion and abuse of those drugs, and potentially save lives,” said Branstad. “Take Back is also good for the environment, because fewer medicines are flushed to contaminate water supplies.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has declared a national opioid epidemic, reporting at least half of the 78 U.S. opioid overdose deaths each day involve a prescription opioid, or pain reliever, not counting other prescription drugs. The Department of Public Health reports 23 Iowans died from prescription opioid overdose deaths in 2015, the largest single category of drug-related overdose deaths in the State.

“Iowans disposed of nearly 38 pounds of leftover prescription drugs every minute during last spring’s one-day Take Back events, and with more than 300 million doses of controlled prescription drugs alone being dispensed each year in Iowa the Take Back program is growing in importance,” said Reynolds. “That’s why the Pharmacy Board and Office of Drug Control Policy are providing 100 new permanent Take Back kiosks to pharmacies and law enforcement centers, to double the number of year-round collection sites in Iowa.”

Over the previous 11 National Prescription Drug Take Back Saturdays, a total of 34 tons of unused medicine was collected in Iowa.

“Our initial goal is to improve Iowans’ access statewide to safe prescription drug Take Back options, by ensuring each county has at least one permanent collection site by January,” said Lukan. “We will also focus on areas of greatest need.”

Other partners supporting Iowa Take Back efforts include: the Alliance of Coalitions for Change; the National Guard Counterdrug Task Force; and Iowa’s U.S. Attorneys.

Reducing prescription drug abuse can also prevent other drug abuse, especially when pain medicine is involved. The CDC says three out of four new heroin users report previous prescription opioid abuse.

“Many of the substance use disorder patients we see in our hospital’s inpatient psychiatric unit with a heroin use disorder tell us they initially started abusing prescription opioid pain medications, and later switched to heroin because of its lower cost and more intense effects,” said Sarah Grady, Clinical Pharmacist at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines.

Information on Saturday Take Back sites, a map of Iowa’s permanent Take Back locations, plus other drug prevention materials are available at

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“Properly dispose of prescription drugs” why? So more of our officers have more of a selection? Come on now! The only way to properly dispose is in the dam garbage!

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