Law enforcement agencies to accept unwanted, expired prescription drugs Saturday

Law enforcement agencies across the Lowcountry and the nation will give you the opportunity to clear out unwanted and expired prescription drugs from your medicine cabinet Saturday.

The effort is part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Investigators say it's important to dispose of any medication you no longer need to keep it out of the hands of others.

"Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse," Georgetown County Sheriff's spokesman Jason Lesley said. "Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet."

The old-school method of disposing of such medications, simply flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away, both pose potential safety and health hazards that include allowing the medication to enter groundwater.

Unless stated otherwise in the list below, collection times Saturday are from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Also, unless otherwise listed, drop-off locations can only accept pills, capsules and pain patches.

The collection stations cannot accept liquid medication, medications that contain iodine, medical sharps or needles, thermometers and inhalers. Those items could potentially place the collector at risk and could cause a dangerous situation.

Here are some drop-off locations and times across the area:

  • Charleston: Charleston Police will collect pills, capsules and patches at four locations Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Drop them off in the lobby of police headquarters at 180 Lockwood Blvd.; at the southeast entrance of Citadel Mall; the Lowe's on James Island, located at 700 Daniel Ellis; and the Johns Island Shopping Center by CVS, at 3575 Maybank Highway.
  • Charleston County: The Charleston County Sheriff's Office will collect prescription medication at its Law Enforcement Center at 3691 Leeds Ave.; and at Vincent Drug Store at 110 Planted Row Lane from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
  • MUSC Charleston: The MUSC Department of Public Safety can accept prescription medication at the MUSC Drug Discovery Building at 99 Jonathan Lucas Street from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
  • Mount Pleasant: Mount Pleasant Police will accept unwanted or expired prescription medicine at the Wando Crossing Walmart or the Tidewater Pharmacy at 421 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
  • North Charleston: The North Charleston Police Department will accept unwanted prescription medication in the first floor lobby of North Charleston City Hall, located at 2500 City Hall Lane from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
  • Berkeley County: The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office will accept unwanted prescription medicine at the county magistrate's office at 223 N. Live Oak Drive in Moncks Corner.
  • Joint Base Charleston: Joint Base Charleston is accepting unwanted medication for safe disposal at the Navy Exchange, located at 1765 Redbank Road, Suite 100 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
  • Georgetown: The Georgetown County Sheriff's Office will accept pills, capsules and pain patches at its main headquarters at 430 N. Frasier Street and its satellite office in the Litchfield Exchange weekdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

If you don't see a location near you, you can check the Drug Enforcement Administration's website for other options.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends disposing of medical sharps, which includes needles, syringes, lancets and auto-injectors into an FDA-cleared sharps container, which is specifically designed to prevent leaking or punctures. If one is not available, you can place those materials inside a thick plastic container like an empty laundry detergent bottle then seal the lid with tape.

Police say those who wish to dispose of liquid medication can pour the medication into a plastic sealable bag and add used coffee grounds or kitty litter, then seal the bag securely and throw it away.

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