National Prescription Drug Take Back Day – with Prevention Facilitators Chelsea Kapitancek, BA, and Joshua Licursi, MPH


8:22 FM 97.3 WZBG. Springtime brings a lot of annual events. In this case, it’s a semi-annual event, and we’re taking a different approach with our friends from the McCall Behavioral Health Network. We want to welcome to the microphone this morning from McCall, Chelsea Kapitancek and Joshua Licursi. They’re both prevention facilitators and today’s topic, Drug Take Back Day. Good morning to you both. Good morning. Thanks for having us.

Thank you both for joining us. So as prevention facilitators, you guys are out there spreading the word, so let’s talk about drug take back. We’ve been talking about it here at the radio station, but we really can’t remind people about this enough.

Let’s set it up. What’s it all about? Sure, so National Drug Take-Back Day is for prescription medications and it happens twice a year usually the last Saturday of April and the last Saturday of October and it really serves as a big reminder for people to clean out your medicine cabinets, find any unused, expired, or unwanted medications and visit your local collection site. You could drop them off, it’s completely anonymous and then we’ll dispose of them.

So this Chelsea just to add to it, this kind of goes hand in hand, really, with part of the mission of what McCall’s all about.

Absolutely. So, you know, the saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So that’s a big thing with Drug Take Back Day. It’s a great way to start that spring cleaning and really do something great for your community. It’s a really great community-driven initiative with participation from a bunch of different organizations and community members, which is really key for sustainability, which is what we’re all about.

So Josh, you’re part of the Torrington Awareness Prevention Partnership, while Chelsea, I’ve got on your titilization, Northwest Corner Prevention Network. Let’s talk about that collaboration and how we get the word out, Josh.

Yeah, so McCall houses a couple coalitions. So yeah, I work in Torrington and then Chelsea in the Northwest Corner. And so my coalition we’re serving strictly Torrington residents and but both of our missions are the same of reducing substance use primarily focusing on youth and we help coordinate this event with a lot of other local organizations so the Torrington Health District we also have the local police department and this is usually across the board throughout the state this community collaboration for this event. And really, prevention is the focus, and so we’re preventing having medications get in the hands of children or people that shouldn’t be using those medications. Really, the prescriptions that are assigned to you are just for you, and so by able to clear out your cabinet and safely disposing of them, you can keep other people out of harm’s way and ultimately accidental ingestion or accidental overdose.

And Chelsea, for your part, it seems like you’ve got more geography to cover.

A lot more geography to cover, but that’s okay. So the Northwest Corner Prevention Network covers the six towns that make up the Region 1 school district. So we’ve got Canaan, North Canaan Falls Village. We have Sharon, Kent, Cornwall, and Salisbury. So a lot of geographic area. But the coalition work is great because it really offers us the opportunity to offer those targeted prevention services within different geographic areas so we’re able to be more intentional and really bring our best to each area.

Part of the problem with medications is they tend to be relatively small. We tend to put them in a cabinet and close the door and then it’s an out of sight out of mind thing. And it’s a little bit like when you find old food in your refrigerator you’re like oh my gosh this has been outdated for a long time. So let’s talk about why it’s important to safely dispose of these medications. And we already talked about risk with children and everything, but it really goes a little wider than that, doesn’t it?

It really does. So the goal is to reduce access, which is a huge part in prevention, because by reducing that access, we’re reducing all sorts of things, including, like Josh said, those accidental overdoses, accidental ingestion. But also properly disposing of medication is really great for the environment. Just flushing medication down a toilet or throwing it in the trash is really not great for the waterways or soil. So part of this initiative is also looking out for our environment and our community at large.

It’s always amazing to me how drugs show up in a water supply or show up in septic waste and the like because really the amount of volume of it is amazing. So for people who have not taken part in a drug take-back day, let’s talk about what they can expect at collection points.

Sure. So what you’ll do is you’ll clean out your medicine cabinets, you’ll box up your items, you’ll bring them to a location near you. You can actually go on slash take-back day to find your local collection site. And with McCall, our affiliated locations, we’re going to be in Torrington, Waterbury, Danbury. I’ll be at Troop B Barracks in Canaan for the Northwest Corner Prevention Network. We’ll also be in Harwinton, but there’s more than just those locations if you just look online on that website. And we’ll also offer some additional prevention resources and other goodies at select sites, so definitely check it out. And our nation is definitely just a wash in pharmaceuticals.

Let’s talk about kinds of things that are accepted, Josh.

Yeah, great question. So you can bring any kind of prescription pills, patches, and liquids as long as they’re tightly sealed in the original containers. You can also bring any vet prescriptions as well that are not being used. Some things you can’t bring though, no aerosol containers, no syringes, illicit drugs, or equipment with lithium batteries.

One of the things I remember about this too is this is a no questions asked event. Yes. We’re not interested in how you got whatever medication or what you’re using it for. We just want to get it safely disposed of. Yeah. So that’s that is key to all of this. And when we talk about two safe storage options and ways to get rid of things, I’d never heard of Deterra. Yeah. Yeah, that’s a new one to me so explain what that’s about.

Yeah, Deterra is wonderful. We’re big fans of it here at the McCall Prevention Department. So what it is, it’s like a little bag that’s filled with this activated charcoal and what you do is you just open the bag, you fill it with warm water on the back of the bag it has clear instructions of how many pills or how many patches or how much liquid can go in there. You put the medication in the open bag, you fill it with warm water, you seal it, you shake it up and you throw it away.

So that way any medication that’s in there is going to be deactivated first of all, so no one’s able to access it after it goes in the deterra. And it’s sealed, so any medication that’s in there isn’t going to get into the trash and therefore the waterways and soil. So we get rid of that medication, no one can access it that’s not meant to access it, and our environment is a little bit better off.

All right, yeah, that’s a great method. And while Drug Take Back Day only occurs twice per year, we do know that several locations, like Torrington Police Department, they have a drop box for outdated medications 24-7-365.

Yeah, same deal. You can go any time, in Torrington specifically, and you can drop off your medications completely anonymous. You can just walk in, walk out. And we know this is an initiative that a lot of towns across the state and across the country are trying to enact. So you can also just look up to see where your local collection site is for that year-round drop-off.

Our guests this morning, if you’re joining us, Josh Licursi, Chelsea Kapitancek, joining us are prevention facilitators from McCall Behavioral and Health Network.

You had something you wanted to add? Yeah, I just wanted to add that people can look up their specific location for those drop boxes. It’s on under the Department of Consumer Protection’s page. It has a little map so it’s really user-friendly and an easy way to just see on any other day other than this the last Saturday of April and October if you wanted to bring your medication to a drop box you can find that out.

Well I know there’s a lot of health and law enforcement organizations and this is a huge collaboration and a national effort so you know thanks McCall BHN for everything that you guys are doing to help get this done.

Absolutely, thank you. Thanks for having us and letting us share the word.

We appreciate your time this morning. You guys have a great day and great success for Drug Take Back Day coming up real soon. Thank you both. and great success for Drug Take Back Day coming up real soon. Thank you both. Thanks, Dale. All right, with that we’ll head back to the newsroom. Hey there, Jeff.