Memorial Hospital collects 261 pounds of unused, expired drugs

Goal to help combat opioid crisis, keep prescriptions out of wrong hands

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As a way to helping combat the opioid crisis, Memorial Hospital collected 261 pounds of drugs at a drug take-back event Saturday.

The purpose was to help people safely get rid of unused or outdated medications, so they don't end up in the wrong hands and are disposed of properly.

According to a national survey, six million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs in 2017.

Most of that medication was obtained from family and friends -- often from the home medicine cabinet.

So, hospitals around the country hosted a drug take-back-day Saturday to clear out medicine cabinets of unused pills.

“We don't want the hazard of the drugs being left in the homes where they can be available to children or other family members or even friends that want to get their hands on drugs, that will be using them inappropriately,” said Andrienne Schmidt, pharmacy director, Memorial Hospital.

Sometimes, expired medicine can be dangerous to keep and take at a later date.

"Leaving them on the shelf and having things expired can lead to toxic effects. The drug breaks down and you have toxic possibilities that have adverse effects that you don't want to happen." Schmidt said.

While many people think it's safe to just dispose of drugs themselves, flushing pills down the toilet can harm the environment by contaminating the water supply.

Proper disposal of unused drugs can save lives and protect the environment.

Anyone who missed Saturday's drug take-back can still dispose of drugs safely because many local Sheriff's Office locations will accept and properly dispose of old prescription drugs year-round.

About the Authors: