Unwanted prescription pills to be collected Saturday

Published 7:00 am Friday, October 21, 2016

As part of a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department and the Carriere Volunteer Fire Department will be collecting unwanted prescription medicine on Saturday.
The now bi-annual event is a nationwide effort organized by the DEA to collect unwanted or unused medication in order to dispose of it properly, Rob Williams, narcotics supervisor for the Sheriff’s Department, said.
Disposing of unwarnted medications prevents them from ending up in the garbage where other people or animals could come into contact with them, potentially causing severe reactions, Williams said.
For example, a simple nitro paste thrown in the garbage could come into contact with garbage handlers, causing a reaction, Williams said.
It also helps prevent the medication from polluting the soil and waterways, he said.
According to a press release from the DEA, 6.4 million Americans 12 and older abuse prescription drugs, more than cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and methamphetamine combined.
“Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the U.S.,” the release states.
Over the past several years, an average of 20 to 25 pounds of medication has been collected locally during each event, Williams said.
In April, the DEA collected 891,498 pounds, or 447 tons, of prescription drugs nationwide, according to the release.
“Some are expired, some of them may have had loved ones with terminal illness that have passed…some are potent schedule II narcotics,” he said.
Anyone can anonymously drop off any kind of medication or narcotic, “even something as simple as penicillin,” Williams said.
Illegal medication can also be anonymously turned in without facing charges, though a report will be filed, he said.
Those that drop off prescription bottles can either chose to take the empty bottle home or have officers remove the label for safety reasons, Williams said.
There are 4,700 collection sites nationwide participating in the event through community partners and local law enforcement, the release states.
Medication can be dropped off at the Carriere Volunteer Fire Department on Highway 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 22.
Other collection sites outside Pearl River County can be found under “Got Drugs?” at www.dea.gov.

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About Julia Arenstam

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