Sheriff’s Department offers prescription drug disposal day

Published 5:11 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Saturday county residents can dispose of their unused and unwanted prescription medication properly by bringing it to the Carriere Fire Station on U.S. 11.

Prescription medication will be accepted by Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department or Drug Enforcement Agency personnel Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to a press release from the Sheriff’s Department.

This will allow the public to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs, the release states. The prescription medications can be brought to the Carriere Fire Station, at 7414 U.S. Highway 11 North across from Pearl River Central High School.

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The service is free and anonymous, no questions will be asked, the release states.

Chief Investigator Donnie Saucier said he encourages the community to take advantage of the service.

Last October, Americans turned in 377,080 pounds of prescription drugs at over 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,000 state and local law enforcement partners. In its three previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in almost a million pounds of pills.

This initiative addresses a public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in cabinets are susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse, the release states. Law enforcement officials say the rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to drugs.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Usual methods used to dispose of unused medicines, such as flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, pose potential safety and health hazards.

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 care facilities to dispose of controlled substances in certain instances. The DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act, a process that can take up to two years. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies such as the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Office and the DEA will hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.