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K-State Today

October 22, 2020

Safe and timely drug disposal important to keep kids, pets safe during COVID-19

Submitted by Piper Brandt

With the challenges of COVID-19, everyone is spending more time at home, and phone calls to poison control centers have been on the rise.

"This is a great time to make sure our homes are safe and that medications for people and pets, along with household cleaners, are all stored safely and out of reach," said Kate KuKanich, associate professor of internal medicine. "Medications in our cabinets that are no longer needed should be disposed of properly. Even nonprescription —over-the-counter — drugs can be as dangerous as prescription drugs when too much is ingested."

A great opportunity to safely dispose of medications is the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 24. In Riley County, prescription and nonprescription pills and patches — but not liquids/needles/aerosols/illegal drugs — can be returned to Dillons, 1101 Westloop Place, or Walmart, 101 Bluemont Ave., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

These locations will accept unused medications intended for people and for pets. All unused pills and patches for disposal can be mixed into a single clear zipped bag and dropped off at one of these sites. It is simple, safe and quick.

"Removing all unused medications from your house minimizes the risk for accidental ingestion by children and pets, which has become especially important this year while kids and pets have more time to explore the house during remote and hybrid learning," KuKanich said. "Prompt and proper disposal of unused opioids minimizes the risk of prescription drug abuse and may help protect our loved ones from this major public health crisis."

For disposal of unused human and pet medications throughout the rest of the year in Riley County, the Kansas State Veterinary Health Center provides a website for clients and the general public with practical information and tips to make the disposal process as easy as possible.