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Residents can get rid of unwanted prescription medications during a “Take Back Drug Day” organized by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
Participants can bring expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs to the sheriff’s office and dispose of them anonymously with no questions asked, according to a news release. The event is free.
Last April, Americans turned in 376,593 pounds — 188 tons — of prescription drugs at nearly 5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement partners.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue, according to a news release.
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.
Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards. Four days after the first Take-Back event in September 2010, 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 their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. The DEA has begun drafting regulations to implement the Act, a process that can take as long as 24 months.
Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.