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Areas around Austin will help residents safely dispose of unwanted drugs this weekend

Photo of prescription bottles lining shelves at a pharmacy
Gabriel Perez
People can drop off unwanted or expired drugs at nearly 5,000 drop-off locations across the country, including several in Central Texas.

Maybe it's time to finally clean out that medicine cabinet.

People can drop off unwanted or expired drugs this weekend at several Central Texas locations as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Kyle’s Police Chief Jeff Barnett said the city hosts the event in collaboration with Texas Water Utilities to help people safely dispose of drugs and not misuse medications.

Barnett said one of the main ways people dispose of drugs is by flushing them down the sink or toilet, which can release harmful chemicals into local waterways.

The drugs can affect the drinking water supply and pollute waterways with antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals that negatively impact aquatic life, according to the police department.

“It doesn’t just disappear and go away," Barnett said. "It goes into our groundwater and it’s very challenging to remove."

People can anonymously drop off legal and illegal medications, ointments, patches, creams, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications. Professionals then properly dispose of the substances.

“We’re not here to look over your drugs,” Barnett said. “We simply want you to dispose of that unneeded, unnecessary medication — or even illicit substances — safely.”

About 115 pounds of unwanted medications were collected at Kyle’s most recent take-back event, Barnett said. Travis County collected 646 pounds of drugs at its last event in April.

“Which shows you there’s a need for this event,” he said.

Williamson County has a year-round drop-off box for unwanted prescription drugs inside the Williamson County Criminal Justice Center.

Drop-off locations can be found Saturday across Hays, Travis and Williamson counties. Find a spot near you by entering your address on the DEA’s website. All locations will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Maya Fawaz is KUT's Hays County reporter. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @mayagfawaz.
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