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DEA Drug Take Back Day removes unwanted medications and the temptation to abuse them

If you missed the opportunity to get rid of your expired medications on Saturday, you still can.

ST. LOUIS — Saturday marked DEA (U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency) Drug Take Back Day, an opportunity to safely dispose of unwanted medications.

At the Dellwood Recreation Center, one of several drop-off locations around St. Louis and across the nation, the goal was taking medications off the street before they turn into drugs or drug abuse.

Inez Davis is the diversion program manager for DEA-St. Louis.

“We know unused or unwanted medications left lying around can be a gateway to prescription drug abuse,” said Davis.

Volunteer Courtney Awalt is a student at the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy.

“There is a lot of maintenance medications that people are on,” said Awalt. “So far I’ve seen a lot of people on blood pressure medications. A lot of people will hold onto those. People get switched off those quite a bit.”

Nick Daniels dropped of some unwanted prescriptions.

“It’s a whole bunch of medications we don’t need any more that are expired,” said Daniels.

Hiram Cruise said, “I didn’t know what I was doing with my old medications, so I was just letting it sit there. This is awesome.”

In addition to collecting unwanted medications, volunteers also distributed valuable resources like safe medication disposal bags and locking prescription bags.

Patti Fitzwalter is a volunteer with an organization known as HEAL Stop Heroin. HEAL stands for “Heroin Education Awareness League.”

Patti explained to someone how the safe medication disposal bags work.

“There’s instructions on there,” she said. “Just add water and safely put it in the trash.”

Her husband, Ellis, demonstrated locking prescription bags.

“The keys are inside,” said Ellis. “If you have any medication that has the potential of being abused or misused, we strongly suggest that you lock them up.”

Kerri Carrs was glad to get a locking prescription bag.

“They were able to give me a bag to lock up my controlled substances, which is really good,” she said.

The DEA-St. Louis has more than 150 collection sites. If you missed DEA Drug Take Back Day log onto their website for a list of year-round collection sites, according to your zip code.