Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Taking Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs & Recycling Extravaganza

  • On April 28, 2012, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Overland Park Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your medications for disposal to the Overland Park Recycling Extravaganza at Black and Veatch campus, 11401 Lamar Ave. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

    Last October, Americans turned in 377,080 pounds—188.5 tons—of prescription drugs at over 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,000 state and local law enforcement partners. In its three previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in almost a million pounds—nearly 500 tons—of pills. In Overland Park, residents dropped off 342 pounds of prescription drugs.

    This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

    Four days after the first event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act, a process that can take as long as 24 months. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like the Overland Park Police Department and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.

    In addition to the drug take-back event, the Overland Park 2012 Recycling Extravaganza will also offer opportunities to recycle more materials than ever before.

    You can bring:

  • Confidential documents, which will be destroyed on site by ProShred Security, and you can watch. The suggested donation for this service is $5 for a standard file box and $10 for larger quantities.

  • Cell phones will be collected by Sprint. Your old cell phone has moved from your hip, pocket or purse into a drawer or cabinet and is ready for recycling. Sprint will be on hand to make certain your phone is properly recycled while benefiting great charities such as the Boy Scouts and Girls Club of America.

  • Usable building material will be collected by Heartland Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Donate your new and usable building materials, hardware, fixtures and appliances to ReStore. Your donations may be tax deductible, and will benefit Heartland Habitat for Humanity's building projects.

  • Unused fabric and notions are being accepted for reuse by Fabric Recycles of Overland Park. Fabric Recycles offers an opportunity to recycle unusual lengths and sizes of fabrics and trims as well as notions and machines.

  • Clothing and housewares will be collected by Goodwill Industries. Clothing, housewares, small appliances, furniture, toys and many other items will be accepted.

  • Electronics such as computers, monitors, printers, TVs, VCRs and stereos will be responsibly recycled by Surplus Exchange. While most items will be accepted at no charge, there will be a fee of $10 for monitors, and $10-$25 for TVs.

  • Musical instruments will be accepted by a group from Bishop Ward High School. Collected instruments will be repaired and reused, if possible, or recycled for their parts and materials. No pianos or organs.

  • Hearing aids that are no longer needed will be accepted by the University of Kansas Medical Center Audiology Clinic so they can be reused for others.
    Eyeglasses and sunglasses will be accepted. Bring your old, unused eyewear so that it can be used by others in need.

  • Hardback books including old textbooks and encyclopedias are hard to recycle. They aren't accepted for recycling at the drop off center or at curbside, but we'll have a group at the event that has the technology to remove the binding and recycle the paper.

  • Bicycles will be collected by Revolve. Give your unwanted bike new life and bring a smile to another by donating it. Revolve will repair and reuse whatever is feasible on your old bike and recycle the rest.