On Oct. 26, Sarasota Police Department partnering with DEA and Wal-Mart to allow public to dispose of expired and unwanted prescription medications

Event to take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Image courtesy Sarasota Police Department

On Saturday, October 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Sarasota Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give members of the public “another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs,” the Police Department has announced.

People may bring their expired, unused and unwanted pills to the lobby of the Sarasota Police Department, located at 2099 Adams Lane in downtown Sarasota. (“The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches,” a news release stresses.) The Police Department and the DEA will dispose of the medications, a service that “is free and anonymous,” with no questions asked, the news release adds.

For the first time, the Police Department also will partner with the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market Pharmacy located at 3500 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota as drop-off location, the release points out. That site will be staffed from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Oct. 26, the release says.

“This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” the release explains. Medications “that sit in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse,” the release points out. “Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high,” as are the numbers of accidental poisonings and overdoses as a result of the availability of these drugs, the release adds.

“The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows year after year that most misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else’s medication being stolen from the home medicine cabinet,” the release continues. In addition, Americans are being advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicine — flushing pills down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — “pose potential safety and health hazards,” the release stresses.

“Last fall, Americans turned in nearly 460 tons (more than 900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and almost 4,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners,” the release says. Overall, in its 16 previous Take Back events, the DEA and its partners have gathered almost 11 million pounds — nearly 5,500 tons — of pills, the release adds.

The Sarasota Police Department has a permanent drop-box in the lobby at its Adams Lane headquarters, the release notes. That can be accessed from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.