COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging people to drop off unused, expired or unwanted drugs.
The Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a nationwide event hosted biannually by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Ideally, it provides a responsible way for the public to dispose of prescription drugs that might otherwise be stolen, abused or fall into the wrong hands.
DHEC says that opioid overdose responses have remained elevated in South Carolina since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, so they are really trying to encourage residents to participate.
The 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for April 24, and the public will be able to drop off prescription medications at any of the more than 70 one-day collection sites across the state.
Organizers say all locations will also adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations.
DHEC says that studies indicate that nearly 50% of abused prescription drugs come from family and friends if home medicine cabinets are included.
“Eliminating un-needed prescription medicines from homes is an effective way to stop prescription drug misuse before it can put lives at risk,” DHEC Division of Injury and Substance Abuse Prevention Director Emma Kennedy said. “Take-back events are a convenient way for South Carolinians to help keep their loved ones and communities safe.”
At the last Take Back Day held in October, DHEC says the DEA collected a record-high amount of expired, unwanted, and unused prescription medications, with the public turning in close to 500 tons of unwanted drugs across the nation.
Take back locations will collect tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms of prescription drugs.
DHEC says liquids (including intravenous solutions), syringes and other sharps, and illegal drugs will not be accepted.
Those experiencing substance use issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic can contact a 24/7 support line available at 844-724-6737.