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This past weekend the DEA worked with local police departments across the country to collect all expired medications. But one pharmacist is working to improve the program.

Pharmacist Gary Levine put a Mickey Mouse patch on his lab coat for one reason - to make his customers smile. Levine says, “When you`re here and you`re sick we like to make people feel better.”

He gives people their prescriptions and if their medication has expired, his customers can drop it off at his pharmacy where it’s disposed properly. Levine says, “This system is much safer. It doesn`t go into the water. It doesn`t have somebody flush it down the toilet. It doesn`t get into somebody`s hands that shouldn`t have the medication. It`s put into a container that`s sent to a company that incinerates it.”

But there`s one type of medication he can`t accept. And it`s the most likely to be abused - controlled prescriptions.

Last Saturday the DEA held its semi-annual drug drop-off. The Urbandale Police Department collected 86 pounds worth of medication. Larger forces, like the Des Moines police department accept these drugs year-round. But smaller cities like Urbandale can only accept them twice a year during the drug drop off.

Levine says pharmacies should be able to collect controlled prescriptions, too.

“There`s not a reason we shouldn`t be able to stick a narcotic or a controlled prescription in the takeaway container, ” Levine says.

He adds the medication shouldn’t matter since it’s all burned in the same incinerator. Levine has contacted the DEA, but he says it will likely take a while before this rule is changed.

Until that day comes, his customers will have to find the nearest police station accepts controlled substances or wait another six months.


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