DHEC: Safely Dispose of Unused Medicine during National ‘Take Back Day’

Too often, unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands.

That’s why DHEC is encouraging residents to drop off unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs at participating locations around the state during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday, Oct. 27.

Held twice a year, this national event organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) provides a safe, convenient and responsible way for the public to dispose of prescription drugs while also increasing awareness about the risks of unused or expired medicines, including those that remain easily accessible in medicine cabinets.

“While it’s easy to overlook, leaving old or unused prescription medicines in your home can be associated with a lot of risks, including being mistaken for other medications and being abused by someone seeking recreational drugs,” said Shelly Kelly, DHEC’s Director of Health Regulations. “DHEC is proud to support the ‘Take Back Day’ initiative to assure medicines are disposed of properly.”

Studies show a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained  ̶  often unknowingly  ̶  from family and friends. Take Back Day aims to restrict household drug theft, reduce childhood overdoses, limit the accumulation of drugs by the elderly and protect the environment from pharmaceutical contamination that can be caused by improper disposal of medications.

To find Take Back Day drop-off locations throughout South Carolina, visit takebackday.dea.gov and use the collection site locator. Medicines can be dropped off from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at participating locations. The event is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

During the April 2018 Take Back Day, Americans turned in 474.5 tons of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 locations.

For details, visit takebackday.dea.gov or contact the DEA at 202-307-1000. For more information about DHEC’s recommendations for disposing of unwanted medicine, visit scdhec.gov.

DHEC in the News: Free flu shots, free breast cancer screenings, polio-like syndrome

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Palmetto Health offering FREE flu shots

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – Palmetto Health is providing free flu shots to the community beginning throughout October at various churches, schools and community centers in Richland, Lexington and Sumter counties.

SC women may qualify for free breast cancer screenings

Columbia, SC (WLTX) — The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control wants to remind women in the state that they may be eligible for free breast cancer screenings through the month of October.

General interest

CDC investigating more cases of polio-like syndrome

Federal health officials said Monday they now have reports of 155 possible cases of acute flaccid myelitis, a polio-like syndrome that causes muscle weakness and paralysis.

The latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows no change in the number of confirmed cases — 62 cases in 22 states. But state health departments have reported another 28 suspected cases.

Vaccination Remains Your Best Flu Protection

Fall means football games, colorful leaves, cooler weather, and pumpkin spice. It also means another flu season is upon us. The flu vaccine can keep you from getting sick with flu. Make getting your flu shot another fall tradition.

It’s important to know that the flu vaccine cannot cause the flu. With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of reactions. Most people who get a flu shot do not encounter problems. The most common reaction after the vaccine is soreness or redness where the shot was given. Some people may have some mild symptoms like fever or body aches after the shot, which may last for one or two days. It takes your body about two weeks to build up protection after you get vaccinated.

Getting your flu vaccine is easy in South Carolina. Most insurances, including Medicare Part B, cover the flu vaccine. You can get your flu vaccine from your health care provider, DHEC health departments or most local pharmacies. A prescription isn’t needed for children age 12 and older or adults to get their flu vaccine at the pharmacy (age may vary by pharmacy).

Flu vaccines at DHEC Health Departments are now available by appointment. Call 1-855-472-3432 to make an appointment.  To find a non-DHEC flu vaccine provider, go to http://flushot.healthmap.org/.

DHEC in the News: Flu, rare illness, TB

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

So far, flu activity is minimal in SC, but experts don’t know yet how bad it will get

While only one lab-confirmed case of the flu was reported to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control by Oct. 13, health experts highly recommend that individuals get a flu shot soon.

Acute Flaccid Myelitis: what you need to know about the disease that’s affecting kids

Lexington, SC (WLTX) — Many have heard about the most recent rise in a rare polio like illness, including here in South Carolina.

“It’s a rare, but significant condition that effects the spinal cord,” Lexington Medical Center Physician Dr. Joshua Prince said.

Case of tuberculosis confirmed at University of South Carolina Upstate

A case of tuberculosis was confirmed this week in a person associated with the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, according to a statement from S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

DHEC, Partners Revitalize Site In Clover, SC

Henrys Knob group

PHOTO: Henry’s Knob AOC 1.  Pictured left to right: Don Siron, BLWM Assistant Bureau Chief; Sara McDonald, Project support; Joel Padgett, Project Manager; Susan Fulmer, Federal Remediation Section Manager.

DHEC‘s Bureau of Land and Waste Management (BLWM) staff joined the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 to celebrate the successful ecological revitalization of the Henry’s Knob Superfund Site on May 1. The EPA awarded ABB, Inc. (ABB) their Excellence in Site Reuse Award for ABB’s efforts to restore the former mine site to a natural habitat. Region 4 established the “Excellence in Site Reuse” award to recognize those who have supported the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative through outstanding efforts when redeveloping a Superfund site.

Located in Clover, SC, the Henry’s Knob site was operated as an open pit kyanite mine from 1947 through 1965. Kyanite is a mineral used in refractory, ceramic and porcelain products. Mined ore-grade rock was ground up and floated to separate kyanite from other minerals. The waste rock and tailings were dewatered in ponds and piles and left onsite. Where iron sulfide minerals in the waste are exposed to water and oxygen, acid mine drainage occurs and can impact surface water and groundwater. These acidic conditions can mobilize metals. At the Henry’s Knob site, these conditions led to over 37 acres of unvegetated soils vulnerable to erosion, acidic water in the mine pit and surface drainages, and contamination of groundwater impacting nearby private water supply wells.

In the 1990s, ABB acquired the company that operated the mine and the environmental legacy associated with the property. Through an adaptive management approach, ABB and EPA worked with former BLWM project managers Chuck Williams and Kayse Jarman and current project managers Joel Padgett and Sara MacDonald to identify a cleanup approach to stabilize the impoundment dams, mitigate on-going erosion of the mine tailings through revegetation and stormwater control, and minimize impact to groundwater and nearby surface water. Beginning with a successful pilot study in 2013 and completed in December 2017, mine tailings in four areas of concern were successfully revegetated. HenryKnob-before-afterTraditionally, “dig and haul” has been used to remove tailings from mine sites.  However, amending the soils in place leaves a lower carbon footprint and literally transformed these barren, low-pH soils into green fields. In other efforts to “green” the cleanup and provide economic benefit to the local community, ABB’s contractor locally sourced hay and organic compost to amend the soil, riprap to stabilize channels and dam faces, and native seeds to increase pollinator habitat.

This interim remedy approach has not only turned the site into an attractive ecological habitat and renewed the view for Henry’s Knob’s neighbors but also has served as an important first step in improving surface water and groundwater in the area.  BLWM will continue to partner with EPA and ABB as the project moves into the next phase of cleanup.