GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Drug Enforcement Administration wants your expired or unused prescription drugs.
The season for spring cleaning is here. The cleaning shouldn’t stop at the bathroom. Christopher Daniel of the Drug Enforcement Administration said that it’s also time to clean out your medicine cabinets.
“This initiative was started about nine years ago and is opportunity for citizens to turn in prescription drugs, unused, old or expired prescription medications,” Daniel said.
Typically, prescription medications that are no longer needed end up in the wrong hands.
“Unused, unwanted medication that is stored in the medicine cabinet can be abused by family members or friends, or stolen,” Daniel said
He said that the process is completely anonymous. Drugs that are collected from the Biloxi Police Department, Long Beach Police Department and the Stone County Walmart on Highway 49 will be sealed and incinerated at the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.
“Gather all of your unused or expired prescription medication, put it in a bag, bring it to one of our take back locations," Daniel said. "We’ll be out in the parking lot. You’ll be able to just drive up. You’ll be able to place your medication in the box and that’s it.”
While the initiative is in its ninth year, their numbers of drugs collected have eclipsed prior years every time.
“It’s been a pretty successful initiative. We’ve collected approximately 11 million pounds of prescription drugs that we’ve been able to take out of circulation," Daniel said. "It grows every year. Last year we were able to collect approximately 900,000 pounds of it.”
Daniel said that last October, 4,400 pounds were collected in Gulfport alone.
With the common belief that prescription medications are no longer effective once they’ve expired, many citizens flush old medications. Daniel said that this is the last thing that should be done.
“Studies show that when those medications are flushed, they get back into the water supply,” he said. “That is another reason that we began this initiative.”
Celebrities have even gotten involved with the nationwide program. Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks and recording artist Ciara chimed in on Wilson’s Facebook page.
With record numbers of drugs turned in each year, Daniel said that this collection is helping to serve another purpose.
“Everybody knows about the opioid epidemic, and we have found that taking these drugs out circulation is helping," he said.
The event will be held Saturday from 10 a.m until 2 p.m.