Spring cleaning included medicine cabinets last week as Soldotna Pharmacy in cooperation with the Alaska State Troopers, DEA, Kenai and Soldotna Police Departments and the Kenai Watershed Forum had a “Drug Take Back Day” that yielded 462.2 pounds of expired or no longer needed prescription drugs. According to Soldotna Pharmacy manager Kimberly Hansen the program happens every six months through the DEA to make for safer homes and waterways, “We take back unused or expired medication so that people won’t just leave them around the house or flush them down toilets and a nice program that promotes community safety,” she said.
At the end of the day the 462.2 pounds of medications were seized and sealed by the Alaska State Troopers and taken to Anchorage where they will be incinerated. Officers from the Kenai and Soldotna police departments both brought huge bags of drugs that had been collected at their stations for disposal, “We have a drop box in the reception area at the station where people can come by and drop off their unused or expired medications at their convenience day or night. It’s a sealed drop box that we empty periodically and then bring them here on the Drug Take Back day,” said Soldotna Police Sgt. Stace Escott. “Many times we find miss use of drugs that are taken from medicine cabinets at their friend’s house and also we want to keep drugs out of our sewer systems and keeping our water clean, so there are numerous benefits to this program,” he said.
Josselyn O’Connor of the Kenai Watershed along with other KWF volunteers were on hand during the windy, cool Drug Take Back day to help with the collection. “Drugs and fish don’t mix!” she said, “We encourage everyone to clean out your medicine cabinets and dispose of any prescription or over the counter medications that are expired or unused – they don’t belong in our water. Flushing or throwing away medications puts our waterways and aquatic life at risk. Additionally, proper & safe disposal prevents theft & other misuse of medications; so we really got behind this program and were happy to help out. We’re already planning the next one.” said O’Connor.