NORRISTOWN — Using the slogan “Return of the Medi,” Montgomery County authorities are providing county residents the chance to safely rid their households of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications at an upcoming event to help combat the opioid epidemic and drug overdoses.
The Drug Take Back Day, organized by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and the Police Chiefs Association of Montgomery County, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 24, at participating police departments and five grocery stores.
“A key way to make your home safer is to get rid of unwanted medications,” District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said. “But we don’t want residents to flush the meds or put them out in the trash — both are unsafe ways to dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications.
“Just drop them off at police departments across Montgomery County — typically, most participate — and police officers and Montgomery County detectives will make sure that they are properly disposed of in an environmentally safe way,” Steele added.
The sites, staffed by police officers, will accept prescription and over-the-counter tablets and capsules, inhalers, liquid medications, creams and ointments, nasal sprays, pet medications and vaping products. Prescription medicines can be in their original prescription bottles with the label removed or can be placed in plastic bags.
Intravenous and injectable solutions as well as needles will not be accepted, officials said.
Steele has said ridding medicine cabinets of unwanted medications is an important step for the safety of all households. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends and often come from the home medicine cabinet.
Steele has made fighting the opioid epidemic one of his office’s priorities.
The last Drug Take Back Day in October 2020, themed “Mask Up & Drop Off,” yielded a record 10,279 pounds of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, which set a new record for most collected. Since the county Drug Take Back program began in 2010, more than 85,000 pounds of medicines have been safely collected and disposed.
The county’s Drug Take Back Day coincides with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s 20th Drug Take Back Day event. At its last Drug Take Back Day in October, the DEA collected a record-high amount of expired, unused prescription medications, with the public turning in close to 500 tons of unwanted drugs, according to officials of the DEA Philadelphia Field Division.
Over the 10-year span of Take Back Day, the DEA has brought in more than 6,800 tons of prescription drugs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has seen an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 83,544 Americans overdosing during the 12-month period ending July 1, 2020, the most ever recorded in a 12-month period. The increase in drug overdose deaths appeared to begin prior to the COVID-19 health emergency, but accelerated significantly during the first months of the pandemic, according to DEA officials.
Participating sites for this upcoming Take Back Day in Montgomery County include police departments and five grocery stores, although more locations are expected to be added between now and Take Back Day. The current list of locations includes:
• Abington Township Police Department, 1166 Old York Rd.
• Ambler Township Police Department, 131 Rosemary Ave.
• Collegeville Police Department at the Municipal Building, 491 E. Main St.
• Douglass Township Police Department, 1320 E. Philadelphia Ave.
• Franconia Township Police at Franconia Elementary School, 366 Harleysville Pike
• Hatboro Police Department, 120 E. Montgomery Ave.
• Hatfield Township Police at the Administration Building, 1950 School Rd.
• Lansdale Police Department, 1 Vine St.
• Limerick Township Police Department, 646 W. Ridge Pike
• Lower Gwynedd Township Police Department, 1130 N. Bethlehem Pike
• Lower Providence Township Police Department, 100 Parklane Dr.
• Lower Merion Police Department, 71 E. Lancaster Ave.
• Marlborough Township Police Department, 6040 Upper Ridge Rd., Green Lane
• Norristown Police Department, 235 E. Airy St.
• North Wales Borough Police at Borough Hall, 300 School St.
• Plymouth Township Police Department, 700 Belvoir Rd.
• Pottstown Police Department, 100 E. High St.
• Springfield Township Police Department, 1510 Paper Mill Rd.
• Upper Dublin Township Police Department, 801 Loch Alsh Ave.
• Upper Merion Township Police Department, 175 W. Valley Forge Rd.
• Upper Moreland Township Police Department, 117 Park Ave.
• Upper Perk Police Department, 88 W. 6th St., Pennsburg
• West Norriton Township Police Department, 1630 W. Marshall St.
• West Pottsgrove Township Police Department, 980 Grosstown Rd.
• Whitemarsh Township Police Department, 616 E. Germantown Pike
• Whitpain Township Police Department, 960 Wentz Rd.
• Giant Food Store (Horsham Township Police), 314 Horsham Rd.
• Giant Food Store (Upper Moreland Police), 314 N. York Rd.
• Wegmans at Montgomery Mall (Montgomery Township Police), North Wales
• Wegmans (Upper Merion Police), 1 Village Drive, King of Prussia
• Wegmans (Upper Providence Township Police), 600 Commerce Drive, Collegeville
If residents can’t make it to Drug Take Back Day on April 24, unwanted medications can be dropped off and disposed of throughout the year at more than 50 permanent prescription drug disposal boxes, most of which are located at police departments. Some of these boxes were sponsored by the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association and some by Pennsylvania American Water in an effort to help keep the water supply safe.
Additional information about the county drug disposal program can be found on the district attorney’s web site at www.montcopa.org/da
More information about DEA events can be found at www.deatakeback.com