National Drug Take Back Day is April 28

On April 28 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. the Pondera County Sheriff’s Office, represented by Deputy Ed Erickson, Pondera County Health Department, Olson’s Drug and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public a third opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

Bring your medications for disposal to Olson’s Drug at 5 4th Avenue SE in Conrad.  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last October, Americans turned in 377,080 pounds—188.5 tons—of prescription drugs at over 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,000 state and local law enforcement partners.  In its three previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in almost a million pounds—nearly 500 tons—of pills.

“We are happy to be the host site for this important event, and the response has been great” states Glenda McKeone, owner of Olson’s Drug.  Medicines that are stored 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.

A cooperative effort, the first local drug take-back event was held in spring of 2011 where students Erica Grubb and Brittany Greyn worked with the Health Department to publicize and educate the public as an FCCLA project.

Cynthia Grubb county health nurse shares, “We now have this project largely built and we benefit from the early work that those students did for us.”

Four days after the first event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which will eventually 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.

DEA is 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 Pondera County Sheriff’s Office and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.