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Austin Wants Your Old Drugs

Bobby Blanchard/KUT News

The City of Austin is offering a free, easy and anonymous way to dispose of expired prescription drugs.

The city will host its annual drug take-back day this Saturday at three locations around town, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The three take-back locations in Austin are Cornerstone Church, City of Austin Household Hazardous Waste Facility and Barton Creek Square Mall. At these locations, residents can anonymously drop of drugs and syringes in a way that is environmentally safe.

City council member Laura Morrison said this is a great chance for some spring cleaning.

“The bottom line is don’t put them down your toilets, don’t put them in your trash, even in coffee filters. Get them out of your house for the sake of public safety and your kids," Morrion said. "I just did a little spring cleaning last week, and it felt really good."

But this weekend is not just about disposing drugs in a way that is safe for the environment, it is also about keeping homes safe. Greg Thrash, an Austin Office resident agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said the accidental deaths attributed to prescription drug abuse overdoses has surpassed the number of people who die in car wrecks.

“The number one source our kids tell us of where they’re getting their drugs or their prescription drugs is the medicine cabinets," Thrash said. "So that’s the significance and importance of public awareness for us to realize that us as parents, many times we are the actual source and supply for our children and the diversion of some of these prescription drugs.” 

Thrash said in Austin, take-back days have taken back about six tons of prescription drugs - or the size of three elephants.

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