The public is now able to drop off leftover, expired or unwanted medications, including controlled substances, on a year-round basis at 46 participating Lincoln and Lancaster County pharmacies. Six of those pharmacies are now piloting the new MedSafe® System, a semi-permanent container that allows for the safe and secure drop-box collection of both controlled and non-controlled medications:
A complete listing of participating pharmacies is available at leftovermeds.com.
"Lincoln and Lancaster County are leaders in the implementation of pharmacy-based controlled and non-controlled medication collection," said Willa DiCostanzo, Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. "We are very excited to have pharmacies that can accept controlled substances such as pain pills every day of the week. In other parts of Nebraska, the public can get rid of their controlled substance medications by participating in the Drug Enforcement Administration's Take-back Saturday, September 26."
In 2014, the Lincoln Police Department investigated 163 incidents of drug overdose, some resulting in death. Nationally, 23 percent of teens report abusing or misusing a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime, including 16 percent who said they did in the past year. Fifty-six percent of teens believe that prescription drugs are easier to obtain than illegal drugs. Prescription drugs have become the number two drug of abuse, and the number one drug of overdose.
DiCostanzo said leftover medications are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. If these medications are disposed of improperly, it can negatively impact our drinking water, lakes and streams.
"All of these elements factor in, making the collection of unwanted medications a winning combination of protecting people's health, reducing the risk of drug abuse and protecting our environment," said DiCostanzo.
Since August 2012, the Nebraska MEDS Disposal Program, in collaboration with local pharmacies, has collected more than four tons of unwanted medications for destruction by incineration. The program is funded by a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.
More information is available at leftovermeds.com, or by calling 1-800-222-1222.