By MELINDA WILLIAMS
September is time to gather up your expired, unused and unwanted drugs and turn them over to area law enforcement for the fall Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Drug Take-Back.
Police departments in the towns of Dublin and Pulaski, as well as Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, will be participating in this fall’s Take-Back. The national program is intended to prevent prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse and theft.
Take-Back day is Saturday, Sept. 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Pulaski Police Department will team up with Pulaski Community Partners Coalition (PCPC) to set up a collection booth outside Food City in Pulaski during those hours. This is the ninth time in four years the police department and PCPC have taken part in the program.
Officer Megan Jennings said 30,300 pills were dropped off at the department’s collection site outside Food City this past April. She noted 1,000 of the pills were controlled substances.
Dublin Police Department first joined the effort this past spring and will have a booth set up at CVS on Giles Avenue in Dublin the day of the event, according to Chief Dennis Lambert. The spring Take-Back resulted in 89.6 pounds of drugs being collected at Dublin’s booth.
Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office will have its collection site set up at Dublin Walmart on Take-Back day. Sheriff Jim Davis said a patrol vehicle will be on display to increase visibility of the collection site, which will be manned by Sgt. Debbie Berg and Deputy Mike Smith.
The sheriff’s office collected 136 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter drugs during the spring 2013 Take-Back. Their booth also will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Only pills and patches can be turned in for disposal by the DEA. Liquids, needles and other sharp objects cannot be accepted. Submissions will be accepted with no questions asked. In order to maintain anonymity, individuals are encouraged to remove their personal identifying information from the prescription label if they so choose.
According to Jennings, Americans turned in 390 tons (over 780,000 pounds) of prescription drugs nationwide in April 2013 at nearly 6,100 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,400 of its state and local law enforcement partners. When those results are combined with what was collected in its eight previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 4.1 million pounds 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,” Jennings said. “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.”
She said studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets.
The program also serves to protect the nation’s waters from contamination by drugs. Flushing pills down the toilet or throwing them in the trash pose potential safety and health hazards.
Jennings said the DEA is in the process of approving new regulations that implement the Safe and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010. The regulations would amend the Controlled Substances Act to allow a patient or their family member, or a pet owner) to dispose of controlled substance medications by delivering them to entities the attorney general has authorized to accept them. The Act also allows long term care facilities to dispose of residents’ controlled substances in certain instances.