National Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, a day aimed at providing a safe and convenient way for the public to dispose of prescriptions drugs.
With the purchase of a Medsafe drop box, Tanglewood Pharmacy in partnership with the Erath County Community Coalition, will be open for the disposal.
Tanglewood will be open from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday for the public to bring their expired or unused medications. Coffee and donuts will be provided.
The E-T sat down with Tanglewood’s business manager Courtney Bowen, President of EC3 Kristin Spears and the EC3 coordinator Denise Harroff to discuss National Drug Take Back Day and what Tanglewood will be providing.
“EC3 bought the box for us and we decided (Tanglewood) was a good location because there is a box at the police station here in town, but not everybody is comfortable with going to a police station so we wanted to find a more neutral spot,” Bowen said.
The Medsafe box isn’t in competition with the Stephenville Police Department’s, rather just another location for the public to take their expired or unused medications.
“I think this may help (the police station) out because they have to dump theirs about once a month because it fills up so quick,” Harroff said. “We’re very supportive of them.”
The Medsafe box is available to anyone during Tanglewood’s business hours, not just Saturday.
“It’s very simple. You just open it up, drop the drugs in and then close it and there’s no way that anybody can get into the box,” Bowen said. “It’s very secure and has two separate locks on it so no one has to worry about someone getting their personal information. We’re not going to be opening it for anybody except for when we ship it off.”
Several coalitions in the state receive funds for medication drop boxes and drug deactivation pouches, depending on the size, and EC3 was granted around $7,000 and purchased the Medsafe box, DEA approved liners and hundreds of the pouches.
“This event will be a community-wide drug take back, but if we wanted to go to a nursing home and do a miniature drug take back event just for them, we have portable med drop boxes,” Harroff said. “It’s like a bucket where you put the drugs in, fill it with water and there’s a chemical in it that deactivates the prescription. You put the lid back on it and then throw it in the trash.”
Spears said one of her biggest fears is her children getting ahold of unused medications.
“I feel safer in the community as a parent knowing there’s some place for this stuff to go,” she said.
Bowen has been with Tanglewood for seven years now and said a lot of customers ask what to do with medications from a loved one who has passed away or someone who had surgery and doesn’t need the rest of the prescription.
“When my grandad passed away I had no idea what to do with all of his medicine,” Spears said.
The medications are mailed through UPS to a company called Sharps Inc., which is where the Medsafe box comes from.
“The funds that we used to buy the dropbox also bought a contract of three years of maintenance through Sharps,” Harroff said. “So UPS takes it and then Sharps is in charge of making sure that the prescriptions get incinerated.”
But the drop box can be used for all medications, not just controlled substances, but needles will not be accepted.
“No sharps, no needles or insulin syringes,” Bowen said.
Harroff said there are some drop boxes that have containers on the side for needles, but the Tanglewood box does not at this time.
“Maybe in the future we’re considering how to get an attachment where people can put their sharps in,” Harroff said. “Right now our funds didn’t allow it and you have to do a lot more registration through the DEA and there are all sorts of health codes so this was the quickest way to get something implemented now.”
At Saturday’s event, drug deactivation pouches will also be handed out to those who come.
“We’re going to be here telling them about EC3 and thanking them for coming in and disposing their medications safely and just giving out information,” Bowen said. “I hope we can get a big draw from the community to really kick off getting the box. I think it would be a great way to get the word out that we have it.”
Also, for those who don’t drive anymore, Spears says to contact EC3 for help.
“I can take a Saturday and deliver drug pouches to people,” Spears said. “As long as I have some notice I would be happy to take a day and go.”
For more information on EC3 or deactivation pouches call 254-965-5515 and for more information about Saturday’s drug take back event call 254-968-7657.