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April 17, 2014

Hamilton: Prescription drug take back day is April 26

Jasper — Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Local law enforcement agencies in Jasper, Jennings and White Springs, along with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its eighth opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. 

According to a press release from the DEA, throughout the country last October, 324 tons (over 647,000 pounds) of prescription drugs were turned in at over 4,114 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners.  When those results are combined with what was collected in its seven previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 3.4 million pounds—more than 1,700 tons—of pills. 

Drug Take Back Day addresses a vital public safety and health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse, the DEA stated. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. 

Studies have shown that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. People are advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

DEA is in the process of approving new regulations that implement the Safe and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” (that is, a patient or their family member or pet owner) of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances.   

“This is a free public service to help people have an easy way to dispose of old prescription drugs that need destroying,” said Grace McDonald from the Hamilton County Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Coalition. “This also helps prevent the problem of drug addicts stealing them from the owners.”

You can bring your expired, unused and unwanted pills for disposal to Jasper City Park or the courthouse in Jasper, the Jennings Public Library, or to the White Springs Police Department at town hall on Saturday, April 26 from 10-2. The DEA cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps, only pills or patches. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

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