Prescription pills

A drop box in the lobby of the Teton County Sheriff’s Office gives people a place to discard over-the-counter and prescription pills for destruction.

The Jackson Police Department and the Teton County Sheriff’s Office have collected 125 pounds of prescription drugs so far this year and are encouraging residents to drop off their unwanted pills in coordination with National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

The Drug Enforcement Administration hosts the annual event — this year it’s Saturday — to spread the word about responsible ways to dispose of prescription drugs.

“Many people don’t know how to properly dispose of old medications,” U.S. Attorney Mark Klaassen said in a press release. “They are either disposed of improperly, which damages the environment, or not discarded, which may allow medications to end up in the wrong hands.”

Klaassen, who says rates of prescription drug abuse are high in the U.S., wants people to get rid of their old, unused prescription medicine safely by taking advantage of the DEA-sponsored drug take back.

“The initiative – now in its 10th year – addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” DEA Acting Administrator Timothy Shea said. “Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse.”

There are a few permanent drug disposal locations in Jackson, such as in the lobby of the Jackson Police Department, which is in Town Hall, and the lobby of the Teton County Sheriff’s Office, across from the Teton County Jail.

Also, the Teton County Health Department has a drop-off for unwanted medications that are sent to the Wyoming Department of Health to be shared with people who cannot otherwise afford them, said Beverly Shore, Teton County Public Health’s community prevention specialist.

“They have to be within five months of expiration, so they need to have five more months of life,” she said. “We take over-the-counter medications, too, like allergy and cold and flu.”

On Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of Town Hall an informational table will be set up. You can stop by and get packets that allow you to safely dispose of medications at home and learn about prescription drug abuse.

Contact Emily Mieure at 732-7066 or courts@jhnewsandguide.com.

Emily Mieure covers criminal justice and emergency news. She also leads the News&Guide’s investigative efforts. She has reported for WDRB TV in Louisville, Ky., WFIE TV in Evansville, Ind., and WEIU TV in Charleston, Ill.

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