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Getting Drugs Off The Street

By Staff | Apr 17, 2012

With an upswing in abuse of prescription medications being seen nationally, and concerns over such problems on the mind of law enforcement, local officials are joining forces with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to try and address the problem. The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office and Emmetsburg Police Department have set up a program in cooperation with the DEA to allow the public to turn in old prescription drugs.

Countless homes have expired medications, unused or even unwanted prescription drugs in medicine cabinets, and all too often, such drugs are taken during burglaries. Such medications are often sold or used by persons other than whom they were prescribed, In some such cases, the drugs may have an adverse, if not life threatening affect on the person using them.

To combat that possibility, and to provide a safe way to dispose of such medications, a branch of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Program will be conducted on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office, 2001 11th Street, in Emmetsburg.

The event is very simple. Anyone with an expired prescription, a prescription no longer needed or used, or any type of prescription drug may bring them to the Sheriff’s Office drop off site, where they can be deposited in a safe disposal box, which will be located in the entrance to the Sheriff’s Office. The entire container of pills can be dropped into the disposal box or just the pills.

There are no forms to fill out, nothing to check. People can just drop off their pills with no questions asked.

The National Prescription Take Back program has proven to be very beneficial. Heath officials warn citizens not to flush medications down their toilets or into sinks, as the drugs can potentially create hazards further down the line, including the possibility of contaminating ground water sources.

Through the National Prescription Take Back Program in October of 2011, 377,085 pounds, or 188 and a half tons of prescription drugs were collected at 5,300 sites across the United States, operated by the DEA as well as some 4,000 local law enforcement agencies. Three previous national programs collected another million pounds, or 500 tons, of old or unwanted pills.

While the federal government is working to develop permanent regulations regarding disposal of unused prescription drugs, local law enforcement agencies, including the Emmetsburg Police Department and Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office will continue to sponsor such Take-Back programs until a uniform federal program is implemented.

All medicines collected during the April 28 collection will be incinerated by the DEA in order to eliminate any future public hazards.

Anyone with questions about the Prescription take-back program may call the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office at 712-852-3535.