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K-State Today

April 23, 2018

College of Veterinary Medicine supports returning unused pet and human medications at 2018 DEA Drug Take Back Day

By Division of Communications and Marketing

If you have ever owned a pet and have wondered what to do with their unused or expired medications, veterinarians Kate KuKanich, associate professor, and Susan Nelson, clinical professor, both at Kansas State University’s Veterinary Health Center, have some timely and important information.

Saturday, April 28, is one of the Drug Enforcement Administration National Prescription Drug Take Back Days. Drug Take Back Days provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs.

"Leftover medications stored in the home pose a public health risk for accidental ingestion by pets or children as well as potential abuse by people of all ages," KuKanich said.

KuKanich also says that flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them in the trash both pose potential safety and health hazards, not only for people but our environment as well.

"Flushed medications are detrimental to our water supply and wildlife, and medications in the trash may be either accidentally or intentionally ingested by people or animals," she said.

"The National Drug Take Back Day gives people a means for disposing prescription medications, both controlled and non-controlled," Nelson said. "Authorized collection sites can accept pills, capsules and patches, but can’t accept illicit substances such as marijuana or heroin; needles and other sharps; liquids; inhalers or other compressed air cylinders."

Nelson also said that collection sites would accept unused, over-the-counter medications as well.

If you live in the Manhattan area, the Riley County Police Department will collect pills, capsules and patches for disposal at two different locations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28. The locations are the Riley County Police Department at 1001 S. Seth Child Rd and the Manhattan Town Center Mall at 100 Manhattan Town Center.

According to the police department, people can empty and mix all pills, capsules and patches into one clear plastic bag and bring them to one of the locations for disposal. No personal information, no vials and no questions asked.

The Riley County Police Department Drug Take Back Day is only for patients and families, not companies. The police department will accept medications from nursing homes.

Both KuKanich and Nelson advise pet owners to start sorting through their unused pet medications now and take advantage of the Drug Take Back Day as most veterinary clinics and hospitals are not authorized to take back unused pet medications.

If you can't make it to Drug Take Back Day, see other options for safe disposal of medications on the Veterinary Health Center website at vet.k-state.edu/vhc/med-disposal.html.

If you don't live in the Manhattan area, you can check the DEA Diversion Control Division for a Prescription Drug Take Back Day collection site near you at deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback. If you only need to dispose noncontrolled pills, many communities have authorized facilities that accept them year-round. Contact your local waste management authorities to learn about medication disposal options and guidelines for your area.

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