Good Question: How do they get rid of unwanted meds?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)— Happening Saturday, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration is hosting National Drug Take-Back Day.

It actually happens twice a year, once in the spring and now in the fall. This is a nationwide effort to get more people to drop off old, unwanted, or unused meds. The goal is to help those fighting addiction and to prevent overdose deaths.

Laura asked News10NBC’s Brennan Somers: I brought a bag of expired or unused meds to the dropbox outside the sheriff’s dept. I know you’re not supposed to flush them or put them in the trash/landfill. What happens to them?

The short answer? They’re burned.

"We bring in hundreds and hundreds of pounds of waste and that waste is brought to an incinerator," Gates Police Chief Jim VanBrederode explained.

He says throughout the year, police collect everything that’s dropped off whether it be during a big drug take-back day or when someone swings by a drop box at a police station or another site.

They’ll make a few trips to Niagara Falls, as they have a contract with an incinerator plant there.

"We’ve done a great job educating the community not to flush them down the toilet," VanBrederode said. "People will come in here with one bottle up to bags and bags."

Just to really drive home how important this issue is, a federal survey found an estimated 10 million Americans misused prescription pain relievers in 2019. Nearly 71,000 people died from overdoses that same year.

There are plenty of places to go Saturday for drop-offs, check the one closest to you here.


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