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If you have unused medications that you no longer need, Giant Food Stores and the Pennsylvania State Police want to give you the opportunity to make sure those drugs don't get into the wrong hands.

The two agencies are participating in National Drug Take Back Day, an event partnered with the Drug Enforcement Agency to make sure prescription medications are disposed of properly.

“Flushing or throwing out unwanted medication puts the health of our environment and water supply at risk,” Leigh Shirley, director of pharmacy operations at Giant, said in a news release. “Clean out your medicine cabinets and bring unwanted or expired prescriptions, over-the-counter and veterinary medications to one of our participating stores and we will have them disposed of properly.”

Where to go: Giant locations around Pennsylvania are participating in the drug take back day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. One Giant location in York County at 2130 Palomino Road in Dover will be taking back medication in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Agency and local law enforcement.

Since Giant partners with local police departments, that determines which stores are included in the initiative, a Giant official said. The stores are working with local enforcement to make sure they're disposing of the medication correctly.

State police agencies around the state are also participating in the national event. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, people in York County can drop off their unused and unwanted medications to the state police barracks at 110 Trooper Court in Loganville.

Personal information such as names and addresses should be crossed out or removed from the medication containers before they are dropped off. Sharps and syringes will not be accepted.

Disposal:

Disposing of prescription medications that are unused is fairly easy, said Dr. Marijka Grey, regional medical director for WellSpan Health. Frequently, local law enforcement agencies will have “Take-Back Days” events where people can drop off their unused medications.

Also, 11 York County police departments have boxes at their headquarters where residents can drop off unused prescriptions any day. Find a list of those locations online at the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.

Opiates:

Many people are taking opiates for legitimate reasons, Grey said. Some can’t take Tylenol or acetaminophen because of liver issues. Others can’t take NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium because of stomach issues.

These are the types of medications that should be disposed of quickly after they are no longer necessary, Grey said.

About 40 medications can be flushed down the toilet, according to the Federal Drug Administration. A full list can be found on the FDA website.

Others can be disposed of in the household trash if there are no medicine take-back programs available in the area. The FDA recommends mixing the medicines with dirt, cat litter or used coffee grounds without crushing or breaking the tablets or capsules.

The mixture can then be placed into a container such as a sealed plastic bag and thrown into the household trash. The FDA also recommends scratching all personal information from prescription medication labels and then disposing of those.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, proper disposal of these medications can deter misuse, prevent poisoning of children and pets and avoid health problems from accidentally taking the wrong or outdated medication.

— Reach Katherine Ranzenberger at kranzenberger@yorkdispatch.com.

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