EPWater, DEA partner for Drug Take Back Day

EPWater, DEA partner for Drug Take Back Day
Posted on 10/26/2022
Properly dispose of prescription drugs

Before you toss out unused or old medications from your medicine cabinet, make sure you’re doing it the right way.

Drugs disposed of improperly, especially by flushing, can contaminate groundwater and seep through wastewater treatment plants into rivers and lakes, causing antibiotics, hormones and other drugs to pollute our waterways.

If you have a stash of unwanted, unused or expired medicines, you can safely dispose of them from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29 at El Paso Water’s Administration Building at 1154 Hawkins Blvd. EPWater is one of many El Paso locations taking part in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Take Back Day.

“The DEA drug take-back partnership with entities like EPWater has been helping people properly dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications since 2010,” said Carlos Briano, public information officer for DEA’s El Paso Division. “Together, we can prevent misuse of these prescription drugs and protect our environment at the same time.”

“This program helps bring awareness to our customers and employees on how to properly dispose of prescription drugs rather than to flush them down the toilet, where they will reach our wastewater plants,” said Ruben Rodriguez, Environmental Compliance Manager at El Paso Water. Rodriguez said these plants aren’t designed to break down drug compounds, which can damage the microorganisms that clean our wastewater.”

Helping prevent addiction

Drug Take Back DayDrug Take Back Day is also an opportunity for communities to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths by ensuring that prescription drugs are not misused and do not end up in the wrong hands.

“You never know if a friend or family member may be suffering from drug addition, so it’s important to keep this in mind when storing and discarding controlled substances in your home,” Briano said.

Drug overdose deaths are up 16 percent in the last year, killing more than 290 Americans every day. According to a report published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a majority of people who misused a prescription medication got the medicine from a family member or friend.

Everyday can be Take Back Day

Briano said Drug Take Back Day isn’t the only time of year that people can safely dispose of their prescriptions.

“We collect all year-round.” Briano said. “People can use mail-back envelopes or drop off their unwanted medications at DEA-registered collection kiosks in police stations, pharmacies, community health centers and hospitals.”

Besides prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, ointments, patches, creams, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications may also be dropped off for disposal.

Find your nearest year-round drop-off location at https://www.dea.gov/takebackday.

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