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Prescription drug ‘take back’ set

Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm

The Lincoln County HELP (Helping Everyone Learn Prevention) Anti-Drug Coalition and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

On Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., bring your medications for disposal to Lincoln County High School at 1233 Huntsville Highway. The service is free and anonymous; no questions asked.

Last April, Americans turned in 522,161 pounds — 276 tons — of prescription drugs at over 5,600 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,300 state and local law enforcement partners. In its four previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in over 1.5 million pounds — nearly 775 tons — of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. 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 show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposal of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Four days after the first even, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” 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 are facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances.

DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like Lincoln County HELP and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.

In addition to Lincoln County HELP, the event is sponsored locally by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, Carter’s Drug Store and the Lincoln County Coordinated School Health Program.

For more information, call Kaye Cowley at 433-6050 or Jeremy Ezell at 433-9989.