BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – A nationwide movement is working to get unused and expired prescriptions out of your home and disposed of properly. Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday and multiple locations in Kern County are participating.
Unused medications pose a threat because they can be accidentally eaten by children, stolen or abused. While you forget they are there, they can be a temptation for someone like Maraam Haddad.
For Haddad, it started with a prescription for painkillers
“I got into a severe car accident when I was in high school, dealt with a lot of health issues and pills were always the answer when I was going to the doctor,” said Haddad.
And, it did not matter if she really didn’t need them.
“If we have the pills leftover and we don’t really need them we may convince ourselves that we really need them and take them to feel better,” said Haddad.
Pills sitting unused in your medicine cabinet can be problematic, especially for someone dealing with addiction.
“So holding on to pills when you don’t really need them can be a trigger and a gateway and lead you back to harder substances.”
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, every day more than 130 people in the U.S. overdose on opioids, this includes prescription pain relievers. It’s why agencies across the country are assembling on a day to help fight a crisis.
“This is a great day to bring in unused, expired medications here to the Kern County Sheriff’s office, no questions asked,” said Angela Monroe with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.
Saturday, various county agencies are hosting National Drug Take-Back Day, aimed at providing the public with a safe place to dispose of their prescription drugs.
“Having them around is going to be temptation and it’s going to be a trigger and it’s harder for us to recover when it’s in our face, so getting rid of it in the safe spots in our country would be best for each person and for family members, we don’t know what our teenagers are doing,” said Haddad.
and for the first time ever, participating groups will also be collecting vape pens and other e-cigarette devices.
“These vaping devices have been strategically designed to look cool to kids, they’re brightly colored, they’re oftentimes designed as these trendy USB devices to deceive parents,” said Brynn Carrigan. “So leaving these devices around children would oftentimes result in kids picking them up and then they will be exposed to the chemicals.”
Haddad, who is now a recovery specialist with kern behavioral health recommends anyone battling addiction participate in Drug Take-Back Day.
Important to note, vape pens will only be collected after the batteries have been removed. If you are unable to remove the battery, you can contact a hazardous waste program or take it into a large electronics store.