Pharmaceuticals collected during the Partnership Carson City prescription drug and needle roundup at Smith’s on Saturday, April 30, 2016. Photo by Shannon Litz/Nevada Photo Source

Volunteers will be collecting unused or outdated prescription medications, along with hypodermic needles, at three Carson City locations on Saturday. For the fifth year, Partnership Carson City will set up stations from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in front of both Save Mart Supermarkets and Smiths to collect prescription and over-the-counter medications, needles and pet medications.

“Every year in the spring we get calls asking when we’re going to have it,” said Kathy Bartosz, executive director of Partnership Carson City. “People are getting into the habit of bringing their items to the roundups this time of year.

She said the prescription drug roundups are a safe way to dispose of narcotics and other regulated medications. “We want to encourage people not to flush them down the toilet,” Bartosz said. “When they do, those drugs can get into the public water system. We don’t want them to end up in a landfill either.”
At the same time, keeping controlled substances in the house can be dangerous.

“Narcotic medications are a target for people who are looking to sustain addiction habits,” she said. “When these people read in the paper that someone passed away after an extended illness, it flags them that these drugs are available in the home.”

Disposing of the drugs is also the best way to protect children and teenagers in the home from experimenting with them. “Parents have to realize that as they are talking to their kids, so are other people,” Bartosz said. “Never underestimate the power of peer pressure. Make sure you also protect them against the urge to try it — they’re kids, they are always vulnerable.”

Experimentation with prescription drugs — particularly opioid painkillers — can often lead to something even more sinister. “Once a doctor no longer sees the need to prescribe the medication and the addiction isn’t addressed, this is when heroin becomes a possibility,” Bartosz said. “It’s cheaper and easier to get.”

Hypodermic needles should be transported in a hard plastic container, such as an old coffee can or fabric softener bottle. “We’re really excited about our partnership with Carson City Environmental Control,” Bartosz said. “They will be picking up the needles we collect.”

Members of the Elks Lodge No. 2177 will be volunteering at the stations. “We are grateful for their support,” she said. In between the roundups, drugs and needles can always be dropped off for disposal at the Carson City Sheriff’s Office, 911 E. Musser St.

For more information, contact Partnership Carson City at (775) 841-4730, or on the Partnership Carson City Facebook page.