SULLIVAN COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Partners for a Drug-Free Sullivan don’t want you to wait for drug take-back days to properly dispose of unwanted medications.

“Unused and expired prescription medications are a public safety issue leading to accidental poisonings, overdose and abuse,” Janis Hughbanks, Director of Education at Sullivan County Community Hospital said.

So, what should you do with those unwanted drugs? Nationally, drug take-back days happen twice a year. The next “National Drug Take Back Day” is scheduled for October 28. It’s a day to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs.

But Rachel Reed, Chief Program Officer for Mental Health American West Central Indiana and Program Coordinator for Partners for a Drug Free Sullivan said, “Drug Take Back Day should be more than twice a year. We need to think about disposing of our drugs safely every day.”

Sullivan County is doing just that. Take-back kiosks are located at Sullivan County Community Hospital and The Shelburn Police Department. They aren’t new in the community.

Hughbanks also said they’ve had it for about two years thanks to a partnership with the United Way.

“It is anonymous, you can bring any of your prescriptions, expired or unused drugs or over-the-counter drugs to have them taken care of,” Hughbanks said.

Medication can be brought in an original package, even a sealed baggie.

“It’s so simple. We don’t ask any questions,” Reed said.

Hughbanks said the process is simple. “You are going to pull down the handle and place unwanted medications in and then close it back up.”

Reed noted it’s important to make access to proper disposal easy for everyone, “Especially in rural communities like Sullivan.”

Getting to a kiosk or drug take-back event isn’t practical for everyone. A new partnership with Mental Health America of West Central Indiana and Partners for a Drug-Free Sullivan changes that by bringing another option to more rural areas in the county.

“We have these Deterra drug deactivation systems. And you can put 45 pills, 6 ounces of liquid or six patches with water and you can safely dispose of your medication and just throw this bag in the trash. They will be available at Sullivan County Community Hospital, The Shelburn Police Reserve, and at your local Sullivan Public Libraries,” Reed said.

Why is proper disposal important?

“Environmental and safety factors. We don’t want drugs getting into hands of kids. We don’t want them to get in the hands of people that shouldn’t have them and cause more addiction issues. We want everyone to be safe,” Reed said.

Reed also said while they promote disposing of unwanted medicine frequently, she still believes National Take Back Days are important.