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Elkhart added to prescription drug drop-off program

By Suzanne Spencer
Published On: Aug 06 2014 09:45:34 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 16 2014 04:45:00 PM CDT

Prescription drug abuse kills more people in our area annually than heroin and cocaine combined. One organization is doing something about it. It's called the "Yellow Jug, Old Drugs" initiative and it's coming to Indiana. WSBT's Suzanne Spencer explains.

ELKHART -

Bright yellow jugs will soon be popping up in Indiana pharmacies. The jugs are part of a drug disposal program that coming to our area.

The jugs are apart of a drug disposal program called "Yellow Jug Old Drugs."

"I already like the program and we haven't even started," said Seifert Pharmacist Hass Hakim.

Seifert in Elkhart is the first in our viewing area to sign onto the program. Consumers are encouraged to bring in unused, unwanted, and expired drugs.

They place the drugs into the yellow bin and the drugs dissolve into a gel-like substance.

The "Yellow Jug Old Drugs" initiative began in Michigan in 2008 and Indiana just signed on last month.

Their goal is to promote clean water and safe disposal of prescription drugs.

"The treatment center has to get drugs out of the water and it is a difficult process," said Hakim.

That's because many people often flush drugs down the toilet because they don't know what else to do. 

The Pokagon Band Health Services Pharmacy in Dowagiac, Michigan has been using the yellow jugs for one year.

"We saw that there was a need," said Certified Pharmacy Technician Lorraine Grewett. "Many patients were bringing things back if they had a change in therapy. If they had a family member pass they weren't sure what to do with the medications."

Assistant Chief Dan Gebo with Mishawaka Police said prescription drug abuse kills more people in our area annually than heroin and cocaine combined.

"It is a huge problem in this area," said Hakim. "It happens all the time."

Hakim said the anonymous drop-off encourages those who may be afraid or nervous to take them to a police station.

"Some of the people are afraid to take them there because they don['t know if people are looking at them funny," said Hakim.

The program also sheds light on an important issue: children getting a hold of prescription drugs.

"I get calls every week, 'my kid took this medicine we don't know what it is,' " said Hakim. "We have to go online and do a pill identifier."

Chris Angel with the program says safety and environmental safety are their top concerns.