AUSTIN (KXAN) - This weekend the City of Austin is hosting the first-ever prescription drug take-back event. Now city council members are looking for a permanent solution for people looking to get rid of their expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.
"It's a public health issue and it's also a public safety issue," said Laura Morrison, Austin City Council member. Morrison will put forth a resolution during Thursday's city council meeting to ask the City Manager to develop a year-round service for drug drop-offs.
Many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine. Flushing or tossing old medications is detrimental to the environment and area waterways. It also has an impact on aquatic life.
"That gets into our wastewater system. That means that it eventually - it can't necessarily be cleared out with the filtering that we do -they eventually get into our waterways, which is a drinking water source," said Morrison.
Studies show people who abuse drugs usually steal them from the medicine cabinets of family members and friends. That's part of the reason Austin's police chief, Art Acevedo, supports the proposal.
"The study and the data show that a lot of the kids that end up having accidental poisonings, accidental overdoses, the kids are getting these medications, they're getting high, they're experimenting, and they're taking cocktails. They're not getting them from the corner drug dealer around the block - but the medicine cabinets in their own homes," said Acevedo.
Right now there is only one pharmacy in town that can take back unused medications. Live Oak Pharmacy in south Austin. The only problem is they cannot take back controlled substances - like hydrocodone.
Since the proposal is in the planning phases, right now city council doesn't know how much the service might cost taxpayers. Morrison plans to apply for federal grants to pay for the program.
The prescription drug take-back happens this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It's a partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration and other local law enforcement agencies.
This service is free, there are no questions asked and those participating will remain anonymous.
The prescription drug take-back will take place on Saturday, Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m at the following Central Texas locations:
Austin - Cornerstone Church, 1101 Reinli Street
Cedar Park- Williamson County Annex, 350 Discovery Boulevard
San Marcos - Texas State University, 700 Aquarena Springs Drive
Elgin - Elgin Police Department, 202 Depot Street
Bastrop - Bastrop County Sheriff's Office, 200 Jackson Street
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