Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office will once again work with the Drug Enforcement Administration to host one of their biannual “Drug Take-Back” Days Saturday.
The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposal, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of prescription medications.
The first “take-back day” was so successful that the DEA and other agencies decided to host the days twice a year — one in spring and one in fall — to give people ample opportunities to remove unwanted, unused and expired prescription drugs from their homes so they can be properly disposed of by DEA officials.
“This is a way to help people dispose of their unused or expired medication in a safe manner,” said HCSO public information and D.A.R.E. Sgt. Brad Cummings.
In the five “take-back days” hosted since the program began in 2010, the DEA and state, local and tribal law enforcement partners have collected more than 2 million pounds of prescription medication in the U.S. In Hopkins County alone, more than 400 pounds of medication have been removed from circulation.
“This is medication that would have been flushed down the toilet and into our water supply, or it would have potentially been abused by someone looking for a cheap high,” Cummings said, referring to the growing problem of prescription drug abuse in the country, state and community. “Those disposing of medications will dispose of the medicines in a cardboard receptacle on the day of the collection. The Drug Enforcement Administration will take all the receptacles to their disposal site and place them in an incinerator.”
While the program is designed to take prescription medications out of circulation and remove them from homes where someone other that the user might be able to obtain them for personal use or selling — which are illegal and can be dangerous, potentially fatal — most types of drugs will be accepted for disposal. Over-the-counter drugs will also be accepted. There are only a few exceptions — no needles or inhalers.
“We can’t accept needles because of safety reasons; we don’t want anyone to get poked with the needles. We can’t accept inhalers because of the potential of them blowing up in the incinerator,” Cummings explained.
And, the great part is they will be taken with no questions asked. That means if some are found at a home or left over when a relatives dies or leaves them behind, that resident can surrender the drugs for proper disposal — no questions asked.
HCSO and DEA officials will be on hand Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Brookshire’s parking lot, 809 Gilmer St. in Sulphur Springs, to collect the medication for disposal. Officials say anyone in the city, county or even region who wants to participate is welcome to do so.
Those who have medication that needs to be disposed of properly, but who won’t be in Hopkins County April 27 during the take-back collection times can go online to www.dea.gov for a list of disposal sites and click on the “Got Drugs?” logo, then click on “locate collection site near you.” Regardless of location, people can enter city, county, state or zip code information to locate the disposal site nearest them.
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