Drug take-back box serves the public with increased capacity

By Betsy Friauf

Pill Bottle

 

One of the many ways UNT Health Science Center helps create a healthier community is the drug take-back box in the lobby of the Police Department at 3600 Mattison Ave.

Everyone can drop leftover and expired over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs in the box for safe and secure disposal.

The Police Department lobby is staffed 24/7. The department recently installed an incinerator, greatly increasing the amount of drugs that can be disposed of.

Before the incinerator was installed, the box was sometimes unavailable because it rapidly filled to capacity.

“At that time, we could handle only 50 pounds a month, but we averaged that much every five days,” Police Sgt. Timothy Payovich said. “Now that we have the incinerator, we’re handling a much larger capacity.”

When the take-back box was installed three years ago, it was one of four in the city. But the Fort Worth Police Department’s program has been curtailed, meaning more community members are using the UNTHSC box.

If not disposed of properly, cast-off and expired drugs may poison children and the environment or pose an abuse risk.

“Drugs are chemicals that are potentially toxic to humans, wildlife and fish,” said Youcheng Liu, ScD, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. “If accidentally ingested or carelessly discarded, these drugs may have health and environmental consequences. Central collection and appropriate disposal provide a good way of minimizing these impacts.”

The drug take-back is part of the UNTHSC campus’ contribution to the Fort Worth Safe Communities Coalition.

The new incinerator was purchased with a grant from Challenge of Tarrant County, an organization dedicated to confronting substance abuse.

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