The continued abuse of prescription medications being seen nationally and the need for safe disposal of out-dated or unused prescription medication will create another opportunity locally for area residents to turn in and dispose of their unused or outdated medicines later this month. The Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office and Emmetsburg Police Department will partner with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to host another National Prescription Drug Take Back Program on Saturday, April 26, at three locations in the county.
Local area residents will be able to bring their unused or outdated prescription medications to the Mallard Fire Department or the Ruthven Care Center from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 26, or to the Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office in Emmetsburg from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day. Needles or sharps of any kind cannot be accepted at this event only pills or medication patches. The service is completely free and anonymous, with no questions asked of anyone dropping off items.
The National Prescription Take Back program has proven to be very beneficial. In October of 2013, Americans turned in 324 tons, or over 647,000 pounds of prescription drugs, at over 4,114 sites operated by the DEA and thousands of law enforcement partner agencies. Adding those totals to previous "Take Back" events, the DEA and partners have taken in over 3.4 million pounds more than 1,700 tons of pills.
The initiative addresses vital public safety and public health issues medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. continue to be alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and accidental overdoses due to those drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescriptions drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Additionally, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines, primarily flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, pose potential safety and health hazards.
The DEA is in the process of approving new regulations that implement the Safe and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an "Ultimate user" that is the patient or their family member or pet owner, of a controlled substance medication 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.
"We are happy once again to participate in this event for the fifth time," noted Palo Alto County Sheriff Lynn Schultes. "Our collection numbers continue to rise each time we host a Drug Take Back event, as we have collected 49 pounds to date in three years of these events locally."
Schultes continued, "Please continue helping out your community with this event by bringing in your medications and invited a friend to do the same."
Anyone with questions about the Prescription drug take-back program may call the Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office at 712-852-3535.