Todd County Citizens Against Drugs and the CentraCare Health System in Long Prairie sponsored the first Medicine Cabinet Clean-out Event in the region Thursday, prompting residents to haul in unneeded drugs by the bag full for destruction.
Getting unused or outdated medications out of medicine cabinets reduces the opportunity for abuse and also reduces the chance of taking the wrong medication.
"They were glad to have the chance to get rid of them," said Katherine Mackedanz, Todd County's Public Health Educator. "Some had family members who had passed away and brought their leftover meds. Others asked that we do this again and in other communities close by."
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Sheriff Pete Mikkelson, CentraCare Hospital Pharmacist Chris Hagen and Clinic Administrator Toni Tebben were also on hand for the event, which collected a large tote of uncontrolled medicines and a smaller amount of controlled substances.
"It's good that we're getting rid of this stuff; getting it out of medicine cabinets," said Mikkelson, noting that the controlled substances are too easily accessible to those who might abuse their use.
"Seventy percent of teens who abuse drugs get them from family," said Mackedanz. "Or from Grandma or Grandpa," added Tebben.
The controlled substances will be taken to the nearest licensed incinerator in St. Louis. The non-controlled substances will be boxed and taken to the transfer station.
"People can dispose of unused regular medications by sealing them and disposing in the trash. We want to get away from flushing them," said Mackedanz.
Though another Medicine Cabinet Clean-out isn't scheduled the response to the first one indicates a need for more. The group is considering holding the next one in Staples.