By PETER KASPARI
A chance for Webster County residents to get rid of any unused or unwanted prescription drugs will be returning to Fort Dodge in two weeks.
The biannual Take Back event, a collaborative effort between the Webster County Sheriff's Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration, will be held on from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 29 at Hy-Vee.
The two agencies have been teaming up since 2010 to give people a chance to get rid of any old medicine they have in their homes.
Webster County Sheriff Brian Mickelson said the programs have been very successful in the past.
What: Prescription Drug Take Back Day
When: Sept. 28, 4-6 p.m.
Where: Hy-Vee, 115 S. 29th St., Fort Dodge
"We've had some really good days," he said. "Last time we held the Take Back day we filled up one really good-sized box, and the one before that we actually filled up two boxes. We've had some really good turn-out."
The purpose of the Take Back days is to make sure unused medicine doesn't end up being abused. Mickelson said this is a danger that people may not even be aware of.
"Unwanted and unused prescriptions hanging around the house could end up in the wrong hands," he said. "We've had people who have had maybe a parent or a grandparent die and when they clean out their medicine cabinet they'll find old prescriptions and not know what to do with them."
Mickelson said the Take Back days have become well-known among members of the community.
"People have already been contacting Hy-Vee and asking when the next one will be held," he said. "There are people in the community who are really anxious to have it."
According to the DEA, unused medicine that is left inside a home has the potential to become dangerous.
"Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse," a news release from the DEA said. "Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs."
The DEA also said methods that were once considered common for getting rid of unused medicine, such as flushing them down the toilet, could pose a potential safety and health hazard.
According to the DEA, they collected over 552,000 pounds of prescription drugs across the nation at the last Take Back event in April. Since the program began in 2010, more than 1.5 million pounds of prescription drugs have been collected.