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Health, Science & Tech

UPMC Wants Your Unused Medications

As part of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, UPMC is hosting multiple drop-off zones Sept. 26 where people can safely dispose of their unused medications.

There are 11 locations participating across the city, including Hillman Cancer Center in Shadyside, UPMC Mercy South Side and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.  

The locations will accept prescription medications, including both controlled and non-controlled substances, and non-prescription and over-the-counter medications. UPMC asks that participants keep all drugs in their original containers and conceal personal information on the bottles.

Health and beauty aids, durable medical goods, illegal substances, infectious waste, household hazardous waste, medical devices and sharp objects will not be accepted.

Bryan Yourich, regional director of pharmacy operations for UPMC, said Drug Take Back Day gives people a safe way to clean out their medicine cabinets.

“These types of drug take back events give us a chance to dispose of those medications appropriately so they aren’t being flushed down the toilet, or put into the trash, or so they don’t wind up in municipal landfills,” Yourich said. “Or hopefully not in the runoff water or in our streams where they could have detrimental effects on animals.”

The DEA holds these events in the spring and fall. Last fall, the DEA reported more than 600,000 pounds of unwanted medications collected at the 5,683 take back sites in the United States. This spring, UPMC collected more than 900 pounds.

“Our patients, our associates and our families of our patients have seen these as very positive events and as a way to keep the members of their household safe,” Yourich said. “So that you don’t have unused medications laying around that someone in the family could accidentally get into.”

Yourich said the event helps to prevent people from abusing prescription medications.

“When you look at prescription drug abuse across the United States, it’s fair to say it has become quite the epidemic and it’s something we have to deal with within society,” Yourich said.

Participating locations will collect medications from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.