Drugs Dangerous to Leave Lying Around

Lansing residents like Linda Fredenburg jumped at the chance to get rid of their old pills, syrups, and sprays at a drug take-back event Saturday.

It's part of a nationwide public health initiative headed by the DEA.

"I was digging in the deep dungeons [of my house]," said Fredenburg, "and I found drugs I didn't even know I had stashed."

Some people collect so many drugs over the years that it's hard to keep track of them.

"Everywhere," she said. "Drawers, baskets, cups..."

Experts say it's not safe to keep drugs past their due date.

"Rule of thumb is a year unless it says otherwise," said local pharmacist Greg Pratt.

And disposing of them the wrong way can be even worse.

"Flushed down the toilet, flushed down the drain, where they end up in our city water system," said Pratt.

That's why the DEA is pushing people to clean out their medicine cabinets the right way. Local police and volunteers Saturday collected more than seven 55-gallon barrels full of drugs.

"Unfortunately prescription drugs are widely misused, so if it's not something you need its best to get rid of it," said Sgt. Patricia Nowak of the East Lansing Police Department.

And with so many drugs just sitting around, there's always the potential they end up in the wrong hands.

"Somebody breaks in, maybe you get somebody in your house you're not too comfortable with, you know, you don't know," said Lansing resident Sandra Browne. "They could be rummaging through your things."

That scenario's not at all far fetched, say police officials.

"Home invasion, sometimes the motive to break into people's homes might be drugs," said Nowak.

But beyond break-ins, drugs endager children and pets too.

"People don't really know what they have so it's hard to know if it's missing," Nowak added.

Hundreds of Michiganders decided it was better not to take that chance and showed up for the event.

Today's event was one of thousands taking place all across the country.

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