National Drug Take Back Day is typically a time for us to clean out our medicine cabinets and safely drop off unused or expired prescription medications at collection sites in our community.
This year’s event was supposed to be Saturday, April 25th, but it has been postponed dur to COVID-19.
“We had to think outside the box because the pandemic doesn’t end the substance abuse epidemic,” said Tammy Sienkiewicz, co-founder of Safer Streets For Tamaqua’s Little Feet.
This weekend, Safer Streets will team up with three local businesses in place of National Drug Take Back Day.
“You could have not just your kids but your kids’ friends come in the house, how many people ask to use your bathroom?” said Sienkiewicz.
Hope & Coffee, Hometown Village Pharmacy and Shafer’s Pharmacy will give out free bags of Deterra via curbside pickup during their business hours. Hometown Village Pharmacy will also offer the bags at its Panther Creek location in Nesquehoning.
The substance allows you to safely dispose of prescription medications at home.
“It”s just a bag which has a chemical in it and once you put the medications in that bag, you just add water and it renders those ingredients inactive so those are no longer active compounds,” said Megan Rubino, a pharmacist at Hometown Village Pharmacy.
And then the bag can be thrown away.
Pharmacists say many people think medications can be flushed down the toilet, but there are consequences to doing so.
“They can leach into the environment and affect wildlife and agriculture and it’s just safer to do so with Deterra,” said Rubino.
The opioid epidemic hits home for Sienkiewicz, who lost her daughter Alexandria to a fentanyl overdose four years ago.
“When we said why she passed away and made it very public, a lot of other parents said ‘Me too’ but they didn’t know what to do either,” said Sienkiewicz.
And even in the midst of a pandemic, the group continues to shed light on the battle against addiction.
“People say ‘How can I help curb the drug epidemic?’ Well this is how.”
Each bag of Deterra has contact information for Safer Streets attached to it. Anyone who is struggling with addiction is always welcome to reach out to the group.