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Sanford Bemidji installs dropbox for unused or expired medications

Pharmacist John Carlin demonstrates the new MedSafe medication disposal box located inside the pharmacy at 1611 Anne St. NW. Community members can bring all unused medications during normal business hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Submitted photo.

BEMIDJI – Sanford Bemidji has installed a safe, secure drop box for the disposal of household pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medications, officials announced Tuesday.

A MedSafe Medication Disposal System has been installed at the Sanford Bemidji 1611 Anne St. Pharmacy.

"Our pharmacists are often asked how to safely dispose of unused prescriptions and expired over-the-counter medications,” said Karla Eischens, registered pharmacist and director of pharmacy at Sanford Bemidji, in a press release. “With MedSafe, we now have a new resource that will provide a safe, convenient place for disposal, and help us decrease the risk of accidental exposure, overdose or intentional misuse."

Community members can bring all unused medications, including over-the-counter medications and legally held controlled substances such as narcotics (schedules II-V) to the self-use receptacle. Keep medications in original packaging when possible, and never leave medications outside the pharmacy, the release said.

Acceptable medications for disposal include prescription and over-the-counter pills, tablets, capsules, ointments, creams, lotions, powders and liquid medications. Liquids must be 4 ounces or less, in their original containers and placed in a leak-proof plastic bag.

Medications and items not allowed in the MedSafe container include sharps containers, needles, syringes, batteries, aerosol spray cans, medical devices, chemicals or other hazardous materials.

This secure disposal box meets the requirements of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Controlled Substances Act and provides a much-needed service to the community, the release said, as excess prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can pose a serious risk in the home.

“Keeping these medications out of homes where they are no longer needed by the patient will help prevent accidents, abuse and even deaths," Eischens said in the release.

The MedSafe container is located just inside the Sanford 1611 Anne St. Pharmacy and is available during normal business hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Bemidji Law Enforcement Center, 613 Minnesota Ave., also accepts unused or expired medications during lobby hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.