BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Two different national programs coincided on Oct 23, 2021. Each program focuses on raising awareness of the dangers of misused prescription medication.

Across the country and in the Mountain State, different law enforcement agencies participated in Drug Take-Back Day. This day gives people the chance to safely get rid of their expired or unused medication. In order to properly dispose of the drugs, people simply emptied the pills into a plastic bag and brought them in anonymously.

Officers with the Beckley Police department want to stress the importance of proper disposal, as flushing drugs down the toilet or throwing them in a landfill could lead to harmful contamination.

“An even greater concern is children in the home and when we have an excess amount of drugs in the house and even if you think they are secured in a cabinet somewhere or in the mirror we do like to do this in a way where we can take these drugs out of the home,” said Luke Appell, a patrolman with the Beckley police department.

Once they receive the drugs, they transfer them to the DEA who then gets rid of them. In doing so, Appell believes this gave him and his fellow officers the chance for a positive interaction as well.

If you are not able to make it to a Drug Take-Back Day, there are other ways to safely get rid of the medication. Appell said you can mix them with something unpleasant like cat litter. Deterra bags can also be used to safely get rid of medication at any point.

“These are important especially with the elderly who carry a lot of medication and have a lot in their home because they can dispose of these properly and therefore they are not aged they are not in the home and it doesn’t encourage a home break-in,” said Stephanie French with the Raleigh County Prevention Coalition.

October is also Prescription Medication Awareness Month, so along with Beckley Police and representatives from the Attorney General’s office, members of the Raleigh County Prevention Coalition came out to hand out the bags and other tools and resources to raise awareness about the misuse of prescription drugs.

“Using that as an opportunity to take part in different access to the community make medication and the danger of it kind of obvious to every and take the opportunity to offer preventative services for any of that danger to reach the community,” said Amanda Hammons with the coalition.

Throughout the month, Hammons said they will look to try and bring people together again, as they realize if you can see the issues, you can work to deal with them as well.