Remember to properly dispose of prescription drugs

Published 10:21 am Monday, March 13, 2017

Bill Spitzer

P & I Coordinator Parenting Resource Center

Did you remember to set your clocks back Saturday night or were you late for church Sunday morning?

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Daylight savings time began today. So many things to remember on this day, change all the clocks and make sure the smoke detectors have a fresh battery. Well let’s add another thing to remember to do when we change our clocks and batteries, how about disposing of all those old prescription drugs collecting in the medicine cabinet?

I know what you are thinking. I need to save them for the next time I have that medical ailment or that pain returns in my body. I realize these prescriptions can cost a lot of money, but to be honest most medications have an expiration date. The most harmful side effect to prescriptions is the potential of these drugs falling into the hands of others. We all realize that some drugs can be helpful but at the same time could be harmful to those unaware of their addictive qualities. It was not surprising to hear during several of the “Wake up Austin” forums last fall, that many of the heroin addicts started with prescription drug abuse. The safest solution is to dispose of all medications after you have returned to good health.

How do I dispose of them properly? We have come a long way from the days of flushing them down the toilet and for good reason. Did you know at one time 80 percent of the streams in the USA contained small amounts of medicine? These medications may be helpful to us but for fish and aquatic life these prescriptions can have many adverse effects on them. We are very lucky in Austin to have a collection point for these unused medications. A drop box is located at the Law Enforcement Center (LEC), 201 1st Street NE, downtown Austin. It’s simple, bring all unused prescriptions in their original bottle with your name scratched or marked out and drop it in the secure container in the lobby. Truth is: the LEC collected over 618 ½ pounds last year.

Remember spring cleaning is just around the corner so why not start with the medicine cabinet. We all can do our part to prevent drug abuse. So, “Make the Drop” and put your meds through this slot!

Bill Spitzer is the Planning and Implementation (P & I) Coordinator working closely with APAC (Austin Positive Action Coalition). APAC and Bill will be working with our schools and community as part of a 5-year grant focusing on Positive Community Norms. Feel free to contact him at the Austin High School 507.460.1800 ext. 0361 or via e-mail This grant is made possible by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, ADAD and hosted locally by the PRC. To learn more about the Parenting Resource, visit their website at