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Prescription, OTC drug take-back event is Wednesday

WILLMAR -- Citizens wishing to dispose of expired or unwanted prescription or over-the-counter medicines can bring those medications to a drug take-back event Wednesday at the Willmar Fire Department.

The event is from 7 to 9 p.m. and is sponsored by the Willmar Police Department and the Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition. The event is scheduled with a 7 p.m. COPPS meeting and a presentation on prescription and OTC drug abuse by Sgt. Julie Asmus of the Police Department.

There are two main reasons to collect the medicines, according to Asmus. The first is protecting the environment and drinking water. Previously, citizens were told to flush their unwanted medicines down the toilet, but that may lead to chemicals in drinking water supplies.

The second reason is based on growing concern about the abuse of prescription and OTC drugs by teens and young adults. Such abuse is the fastest growing area of drug abuse by young people, Asmus said.

Statistics show that 70 percent of children age 12 or older who abuse prescription drugs get those drugs from family or friends. The young person is likely to take one or two pills from the bottle, and not take all the pills in the bottle, so that their actions are more likely to go unnoticed.

"We want to get the drugs out of the cupboard," Asmus said, adding that if medications aren't used or needed, they should be disposed of properly.

Citizens are asked to bring the following to the collection event:

- expired or unwanted prescriptions or OTC medicines,

- drugs that didn't work for you or a family member,

- drugs that are no longer used,

- medicine from deceased family members,

- unknown tablets and capsules.

Citizens are asked to leave the medicines in the original container. People may black out their personal information on the label if they wish.

The medications will be disposed of by incineration.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

(320) 214-4373