RX drug "Take Back" day - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

RX drug "Take Back" day

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WEST UNION (KWWL) -

If you have unused prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet, law enforcement wants them.

This weekend marks the 2nd annual National Prescription Drug "Take Back" day. The 2-day event looks to get unused or expired prescription drugs out of medicine cabinets.

Police say prescription drugs are often the first drug abused, and lead to harder drug use.  Also, medicines that are thrown away pose a risk to the environment.

"We've had a lot of people call -- what time is it? People have already brought stuff in already," said pharmacist Ken Steege.

Steege's pharmacy is among dozens of Eastern Iowa locations participating in Saturday's Drug Take-Back Day. It's a natural fit, considering he takes back many medications year-round, and has for more than a year now.

"We have probably taken back, oh, a couple hundred pounds of medications so far," Steege said.

Saturday, he'll also accept narcotics, liquids, and syringes, with help from the Northeast Iowa Drug Task Force. Part of the goal, is to keep people from re-using old drugs.

"We don't like people self-medicating -- gee, I had a sore throat two years ago, and that worked before," Steege explained.

But lately, the issue is not trying to treat a sore throat. It's trying to get high off what's in the medicine cabinet.

"It seems like there's becoming more and more abuse potential. A lot of pain medication.. people getting into the medicine cabinet of their parents, grandparents, uncles or aunts, and taking things that they shouldn't be."

The last national drive led to the collection of more than 120 tons of drugs. With more than one thousand new sites this year, Steege hopes this effort will go a long way toward preventing misuse or even abuse.

"It's a good start. I hope it continues," he added.

To find a drop off location near you, go to the DEA website.

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