The North Augusta Department of Public Safety will take part in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s fifth National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday.
The event is a nationwide initiative taking place at thousands of sites to give people the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs.
Anyone in North Augusta or the surrounding areas can drop off their prescription medications at Parks Pharmacy, 437 Georgia Ave., from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
North Augusta Public Safety Lt. Tim Thornton said that after the medications are dropped off, they will be picked up by the DEA and taken to a secure location to be destroyed.
“It’s important to dispose of this medication properly for environmental reasons,” he said. “But I think it’s more important, if you have unneeded and old medications around the house, for safety issues. If you have children, they might have access to it. If the medications are not needed longer, this is the safe and proper way of destroying it.”
Americans participating in DEA’s four previous take-back days turned in about 1.6 million pounds of prescription drugs, according to the DEA. The last event collected more than twice as many pills as the first one two years ago, with almost 50 percent more participating agencies and sites in April than in September 2011.
“The growing response to DEA’s national take-back day events demonstrates that the public understands, and wants to help combat, the epidemic of prescription drug abuse in America,” DEA administrator Michele Leonhart said. “They recognize the need to rid their homes of dangerous controlled substance medications that teens and others steal, abuse and sell. DEA will continue holding these national take-back day events as long as they are needed to prevent diversion, addiction and overdose deaths.”
According to Barbara Correno, spokesperson for DEA, only dry prescription pills will be accepted. Liquids and needles will not be accepted.
“There’s an attitude or belief that a prescription medicine is safe because it was produced in a factory with quality control and prescribed by a doctor,” she said. “A medicine that may be helpful to one person may be harmful to someone else.”
According to the statement, more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
The Barnwell County Sheriff’s Office, 599 Joey Zorn Boulevard in Barnwell, will also be collecting medications on Saturday.
For more information, visit www.dea.gov and click on the “Got Drugs?” icon.