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First statewide safe medication disposal event has 45 drop-off sites


Unsafe medication storage, disposal linked to drug abuse, accidents, water contamination

ANCHORAGE - Alaska's first statewide safe prescription drug drop-off event Saturday, Sept. 25, has disposal sites from Aniak to Yakutat. The sites are among thousands to be opened nationwide in an event coordinated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The free public event seeks to prevent pill abuse and theft, as well as environmental damage to our waterways.

Alaska's prescription drug abuse rates have increased seven-fold since 2005. Left-over medications in our homes contribute to child poisonings and potentially fatal recreational or accidental misuse.

Several city, borough, and state agencies, businesses, non profits and government entities teamed up to hold trial disposal events in April 2010. The events went so well the partners formed the Alaska Safe Medicine Alliance to host this statewide disposal event.

WHAT: A free safe disposal event for the public to drop off old or unwanted prescriptions, including pet medications. Locations are supervised by an Alaska State Trooper or local police.

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010

WHERE: 45 locations statewide, including Trooper posts, some Fred Meyer parking lots and the Alaska Native Medical Center. For a site list, follow the "Got drugs?" link at HUwww.dea.govUH and put "AK" in the state search field.

WHY: Home medicine cabinets are the source of prescription drugs abused by one in five teens, and are a target for home burglaries. Unsafe disposal, such as flushing old medications, puts potent chemicals in waterways, potentially contaminating drinking supplies and harming fish and other aquatic wildlife.

WHO: This public event is hosted by the Alaska Safe Medicine Alliance and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. For details, see the attached Frequently Asked Questions, HUwww.akeela.org/rxUH or HUwww.dea.govUH.

Mary Sullivan is program manager for the Seniors Behavioral Health Coalition and a founding member of the Alaska Safe Medicine Alliance.
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