RUSHVILLE — The semi-annual DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, October 23.

This upcoming event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the 13th Street parking lot of Rush Memorial Hospital, though it is open and available to residents throughout the Daily News coverage area.

To make it convenient, you can drive through and drop your items into a large container that a law enforcement officer is holding. If that is not a good time for you, put it in the courier-style drop box in the lobby of the Rush County Sheriff’s Department anytime.

This is a free service and no questions will be asked.

Besides unwanted medication being collected for secure disposal, Clean Green Rush again has sponsored Shares Shredding, Inc., a sister division of our local Shares, Inc.

They will be on hand to accept confidential documents for secure shredding. With Shares Shredding, Inc. they take documents in locked containers back to their Shelbyville facility where they are shredded in a secure room with cameras on the operation at all times. This method is used by the FBI, the Rush County Sheriff’s Department, and many other agencies with complete confidence.

To help you avoid identity theft, Shares will also take your computer to ensure that your computer hard drive with its confidential digital files will also be destroyed. You can feel safe in giving your documents, both paper and digital, to Shares Shredding for secure destruction. Only computers and laptops will be accepted that day. Other electronics can be taken to Smiley Avenue for Tox-Away on the first Saturday morning of each month.

This a community project. Rush Memorial Hospital, Rush County Health Department, Rush2Health (our health coalition), Clean Green Rush, Rushville Police Department and the Rush County Sheriff’s Department have organized this local event as a reminder of this vital public safety and public health issue.

“With the present opioid crisis, we want to keep the importance of proper drug disposal top of mind,” RMH pharmacist and former Rush County Health Department board member Greg Pratt said.

“Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to accidental poisonings, diversion, misuse and abuse,” RMH pharmacist Amanda Garza added.

Rush County is not immune to the tragedy of overdose and even death from drugs.

“The number of calls that law enforcement answers due to overdoses has risen as has the increase of home break-ins and thefts due to addicts looking to support a drug habit. Anything we can do to make drugs unavailable is important,” RCSD Detective Randy Meek said. “This Take Back Day is another easy means of disposal.”

An often-asked question regards personal information on pill bottles. No one goes through the collection. Officers don’t even want to touch it. They close up the container, seal it, and deliver it for disposal.

Those utilizing the drop off service can be assured that their information is safe.

“We prefer you leave it in the original container, but if it gives you more peace of mind dump it into another container before you bring it or use a permanent marker to strike out your information,” Clean Green Rush Director Carole Yeend said. “The important message here is dispose of it properly. Recently through our year-round collection, 720 pounds of unwanted medication made its way safely out of the community and into the Covanta incinerator.

The DEA Take Back Day has been ongoing for several years in April and October. The agency launched its prescription drug take back program when both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration advised the public that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – posed potential public safety and health hazards.

“From an environmental and health standpoint, if poured down the drains, most water treatment facilities cannot fully filter out all the antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals from pharmaceuticals,” Yeend said. “Inadvertently, you could get a dose of your own medicine – or someone else’s – in your water supply. Keep drugs out of the water and off the streets. Dispose of them properly.”

Call Yeend if you have questions or concerns at 317-407-3221 or 765-938-1342.

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