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CCFD participating in Medication Take Back Day

By Staff | Nov 4, 2014

People can dispose of their expired and unneeded medications today at any Cape Coral fire station.

The Cape Coral Fire Department, in conjunction with Med Safe Solutions, is conducting a Medication Take Back Day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at all of the city’s 10 fire stations. The public can drop off old medication, a loved one’s prescription drugs or medication they no longer take to be disposed of safely.

“Properly disposing of medications is very important,” Battalion Chief Mark Muerth said. “Some medications can be very harmful if taken by someone other than the person for whom the medicine was prescribed, and others, such as narcotic pain relievers and other controlled substances, can be illegally abused.”

Medications do not have to be their original bottle, but they should be dropped off in a container or a plastic bag. Original bottles can contain personal information, so they can be thrown out at home.

“It just needs to be in something,” Andrea Schuch, spokeswoman for the CCFD, said.

Medications that are contained in syringes or are accompanied with needles can also be dropped off at the event. They need to be contained in a proper sharps container, which are available the stations.

“We are a safe place for people to drop off like their needles or syringes,” she said. “But those do need to be separate from the pills.”

The fire stations can provide residents with a sharps container to keep at their home.

Schuch noted that the fire department and EMS work with various medications on daily basis.

“We, obviously, find it very important for the community’s safety and the environment’s safety to dispose of them properly,” she said. “The biggest ones that we want to prevent from being out there are any of your strong narcotics. It’s particularly important for these pills to make it to the collection.”

The proper disposal of expired and unneeded medications can prevent children from accidentally ingesting them, as well as prevent adults and even youth from abusing the prescription drugs.

“It’s never a good idea to share your pills with anybody,” Schuch said.

The medications dropped off at the event will be collected by Med Safe Solutions and incinerated.

Flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them out in the garbage increases the risk that their medicinal compounds could be filtered into the groundwater or could end up in local waterways.

“Trash is probably the worst because people can find things in your trash,” she said.

The best way to dispose of medication is through a take-back program like the one offered today.

People who choose to drop off medications will not have to provide any information.

“It’s completely anonymous,” Schuch said. “We’ll also never know what kinds of drugs are in those bags.”

Fire crews could be unavailable to accept the medications if they have to respond to a call. If no one is around, try another fire station or come back later. Do not leave medications behind unsupervised.

For those unable to participate in today’s Medication Take Back Day, the Cape Coral Police Department accepts expired and unwanted medications at any time. It is also anonymous.

The Cape Coral Police Department is at 1100 Cultural Park Blvd.