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Prescription medications are a benefit when you are sick or in pain, but once the medications have ceased being used or become expired, they can become a harmful drug that the United States Department of Justice's Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) calls a “public safety issue.”
Unused or expired prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as street drugs if they are taken without a prescription or a medical professional's supervision.
“Unused or expired prescription medications are a public safety issue, leading to accidental poisoning, overdose and abuse,” writes the DEA.
That's why, on Saturday, April 27, the DEA is partnering with local law enforcement agencies around the nation to host a National Take Back Day.
This will be the 17th opportunity within the last nine years that will be hosted in order to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
During the last National Take Back Day, in October of 2018, 133 Florida law enforcement agencies participated in the Take-Back program (4,770 nationally).
Of those participating agencies, 185 Floridian collection sites were opened (5,839 nationally) and 27,121 pounds of prescription medications were collected (914,236 nationally).
Overall, in its 16 previous Take Back events, the DEA and its partners have taken in almost 11 million pounds of pills.
This Take-Back initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.
Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.
Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.
According to the DEA, teenagers who abuse prescription drugs will usually obtain their pharmaceuticals from the medicine cabinets of family members or friends.
The DEA Take Back program also offers an alternative to the traditional method of disposing of unused medications, which is the “flushing” option, which involves flushing pills down the toilet or throwing them in the trash. Both of those options can pose potential health or environmental problems.
On Saturday, April 27, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) will be teaming up with the DEA for National Take Back Day.
Individuals with expired or unused medications can stop by the JCSO anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and safely dispose of their pills at the special Take-Back box that will be provided.
The JCSO cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.
The service is free and anonymous; no questions will be asked.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is located at 171 Industrial Park, in Monticello.