HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Department of the Attorney General, in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and State Narcotics Enforcement Division held its 5th National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative on Saturday.
Residents who had any expired or unused prescription medications were encouraged to bring in their medications at various collections points on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island.
This service was free and anonymous, and no questions were asked of attendees. Tablet, capsules, and all other solid dosage forms were accepted.
"We do it in an environmentally safe manner," said Robin Dinlocker of the DEA. "They are actually incinerated, because I think historically everybody remembers that people used to take their drugs and dump them down the toilet, and they were actually seeing a presence of prescription drugs in the water system, so this is a fantastic, environmentally safe way to handle them."
Since September 2010, Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands have collected a total of nearly 6,700 pounds of expired and unused prescription medications in Take Back events.
With each Take Back effort, the number of pounds collected has increased. On the most recent Take Back day, citizens turned in a record-breaking 552,161 pounds (276 tons) of medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,659 Take Back sites available in all 50 states and U.S. territories.
According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of young adults (people aged 18-25) who used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in the past month declined 14 percent - from 2 million in 2010 to 1.7 million in 2011. This decline has driven an overall 12 percent drop in the number of Americans abusing prescription drugs. Complete survey findings can be found at www.samhsa.gov.
Unused or expired medicine should be disposed of properly when it is no longer needed for the illness for which it was prescribed.