Disposemymeds.org states that “Nearly 4 billion prescriptions are filled in the US every year, and it has been estimated that as much as a third of the dispensed medications are unused – leading to potential 200 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste that could adversely affect the environment if disposed improperly.” Flushing medications or burying them in the soil causes water and ecological pollution.

Newport Area Pharmacies (Darling, Fred’s, Norman & Baker, Walgreens and Wal-Mart Pharmacies) partnered with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and Newport Police Department on Saturday, Oct. 26, to help collect unwanted medications and safely dispose of them without harming the environment. The Drug Take-Back Initiative was held at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and at the parking lot of the Newport Wal-Mart. These two sites collected 75 pounds of medications to be safely disposed of. Any residents who missed this opportunity to participate can always get their medications and drop them off in the permanent medication take-back boxes inside the Jackson County Sheriff’s office or just outside the office of the Newport Police Department. Both locations offer 24 hour access, seven days a week. “The goal of this drive was to promote awareness that idle prescription medications can be dangerous and that loved ones potentially can be abusing these medications. Legal controlled drugs, used illegally, now lead to more deaths than heroin, morphine and cocaine! Drug dealers used to be “shady and unsavory characters.” Today controlled substances are too accessible to our youth. They are destroying lives,” Eric Shoffner, Wal-Mart Pharmacist and Pharmacy Preceptor, said. According to Sheriff David Lucas, current plans call for more events to be held annually, during the April and October months. “These events will allow residents to safely dispose of their unneeded, unused or expired medications with a routine frequency. Anything we can do to keep these dangerous and idle medications away from those that intend to misuse them helps our community and makes it a safer place for the citizens of Jackson County.” If you have further questions about medication disposal, contact one of the above listed area pharmacies or the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office at 870-523-5842.