Working in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Evans Police and Fire Departments were able to collect a large supply of potentially dangerous controlled substances from area residents last weekend.
The DEA established the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in 2008 to encourage residents to go through their medicine cabinets and turn over to authorities accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs for safe disposal.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for one month. Often, some of these medicines languish in the home and are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.
Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high—more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Studies show that the majority of teens who abuse prescription drugs obtain them from family and friends for free, including from the home medicine cabinet.
While many individuals simply flush the drugs down the toilet or throw them away, authorities warn against this saying they can cause environmental concerns.
“The amount of prescription drugs turned in by the American public during the past three Take-Back Day events speaks volumes about the need to develop a convenient way to rid homes of unwanted or expired prescription drugs,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “DEA remains hard at work to establish just such a drug disposal process, and will continue to offer take-back opportunities until the proper regulations are in place.”
Last year’s drug take-back day was on October 29 and resulted in Americans turning in over 188 tons or unwanted or expired medications at the 5,327 sites available in all 50 states.
This past Saturday, the Evans site alone netted almost 150 pounds of drugs. During the collection times, Evans Fire Fighters and Police Officers were on scene interacting with the public. Children were given handouts and an opportunity to have a tour of the fire trucks and police cars.
“With the continued support and hard work of our more than 3,945 state, local, and tribal law enforcement and community partners, these events have dramatically reduced the risk of prescription drug diversion and abuse, and increased awareness of this critical public health issue,” said Leonhart.
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