DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (WMBB) — Expired or unwanted medication can fall into the wrong hands if not properly disposed of. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is hosting a national take-back day on Saturday, Oct. 28 to dispose of medicines and other bio-hazardous materials. 

Now is the time to clean out the cabinets for any expired or unwanted medications. 

“We want to let the public bring them to us and we can get rid of them. That way they don’t fall into the wrong hands,” said Lt. Richard Black, Defuniak Springs Police.

The DEA hosts two drug take-back events each year. Residents can bring any medications, needles, or bio-hazardous materials to be incinerated. 

“Any over-the-counter aspirin, ibuprofen, you know, things are out of date. You know, you don’t want to use them anymore. Bring them to us,” said Black. 

Lieutenant black said there are two main reasons drug takeback days are important. One is to keep medications out of the wrong hands like children or criminals. But two is to keep them out of landfills and dispose of them properly.

“Any time you put something in the landfill, it’s going to eventually wind up in our soil, possibly in our water supply. And some of those drugs don’t break down to where they’re not harmful,” said Black.  

Having antibiotics flushed down the drain or thrown away can cause them to be less effective in the future and be a danger to the general public. 

“Especially if it’s something like hormone replacement therapy. Some of these other medications, adults may not notice, but if you’re using the water to mix infant formula or children are drinking it, it can have really deleterious effects on them,” said Dr. Carolynn Zonia, retired emergency physician. “They can’t be filtered out. So that’s why it’s so important to turn these medications back in and have them incinerated instead of disposed of in our water system.” 

Dr. Zonia said keeping expired medications around for use is also a big risk.

“There’s some antibiotics that if you take them beyond their usual date, it can cause kidney damage. And so that’s why it’s really important to look at these dates on all your medication bottles and if they’re outdated, go ahead and dispose of them,” said Zonia. “This is a safe place to do that, not just your medications, but twice a year at the drug take-back day, you can take pet medicines, you can take liquid medicine, you can take ointments and patches and things that usually you can’t take back other times of the year. So go through all of your closets and cabinets where you keep these things and go ahead and take them back.”

DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day locations on the panhandle: (10 am – 2 pm)

  • DeFuniak Springs Police Department
  • Walton Co. Sheriff Substation in Santa Rosa Beach
  • Walton Co. Sheriff’s Office on Triple G Road
  • Panama City Diagnostic Center
  • Bay County Sheriff’s Office
  • Administration Building, 50 2nd Street, Shalimar (call 651-7547 prior to visit)
  • North End District Office, 197 E. James Lee Blvd, Crestview
  • Destin Substation, 107 Stahlman Avenue, Destin
  • 4111 Governor Rick Scott Dr., Marianna
  • Panama City Beach Walmart