PARK HILLS – The Park Hills Police Department held the agency’s first drug take back program Saturday.
Park Hills Cpl. Craig Newberry said the department had eight to 10 people come in Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to drop off everything from prescription drugs, vitamins, to animal medication. Everyone who came in brought at least a bag of medicines.
“A lot of people who came in were concerned what we were going to do with the collected medicines. The DEA is coming Monday morning to collect the filled containers and will properly dispose of them,” said Newberry.
The officer said they have always allowed people to drop off prescriptions or unwanted medications. But this is the first time they have participated in the DEA’s take back program.
“We are always available to accept unwanted medications, vitamins or anything people don’t want anymore. If they have unused syringes or diabetic testing supplies or medicines we recommend they take them to the ambulance district, because they are better equipped to dispose of them. But we can take those items if we need to,” said Newberry.
According to the DEA.gov website, the public has embraced the opportunity these Take-Back Day events provide to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs. Local law enforcement agencies in thousands of American communities have partnered with the DEA in the previous five events that have taken place since Sept. 2010.
Unused medications in homes create a public health and safety concern, because they are highly susceptible to accidental ingestion, diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high — more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet, according to surveys of users.
Saturday’s event was sponsored by Park Hills and the Missouri Rural Water Association.
Proper disposal will prevent possible misuse of the drugs and also keep them from harming the environment.
Maridee Lawson is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at (573) 756-8927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.