Program to provide safe medication disposal

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

Sept. 23, 2012 at 4:23 a.m.
Updated Sept. 24, 2012 at 4:24 a.m.

The Victoria County Sheriff's Office is partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration to keep expired, unused or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications from winding up in the wrong hands.

At the previous take-back event, the sheriff's office collected about 450 pounds of medication in Victoria County. This year's event is set for Saturday at the sheriff's office, 101 N. Glass St.

Capt. Abel Arriazola said the numbers are astounding.

"We're not talking about marijuana bales. We're talking little bitty pills," he said. "That's a lot of pills people are bringing back."

Nationwide, the DEA reported collecting more than 376 tons of unwanted or expired medications from take-back sites during the same event.

Since the program began in 2010, the DEA and its state, local, and tribal law-enforcement and community partners have removed more than 1.5 million pounds, or 774 tons, of medication from circulation.

DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said in a news release that participants to the program are contributing to the battle against prescription drug abuse.

"Our take-back events highlight the problems related to prescription drug abuse and give our citizens an opportunity to contribute to the solution," Leonhart said.

Medications will be collected at no cost, no questions asked, using a drive-through line so people will not have to get out of their vehicles. Medications do not have to be labeled and they do not have to be in your name. Illegal drugs will not be accepted.

Arriazola said the event gives residents a chance to safely dispose of medication, and helps prevent accidental poisoning or overdosing.

He also said it affords families who recently experienced a death to safely and securely dispose of that person's medications.

"They have to do absolutely nothing," Arriazola said. "Those pills, those bottles and those names will never filter back into the public again. It goes straight from us to the disposal site, an incinerator."

He encouraged people to continue spreading the word about the event, and to let neighbors, friends and family members know now is the time to clean out their medicine cabinets. The event is only open for four hours and the next take-back day will likely not be until 2013, Arriazola said.

"It's all to serve the public," he said. "They'd be surprised as to what's stored up in there that they've forgotten about."



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