WILLIAMSON – In an attempt to limit access to prescription drugs, the Williamson and Gilbert Police Departments partnered with the Standing Through Our Plan (STOP) Coalition to participate in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take- Back Initiative on Saturday, Sept. 26.
Joshua Murphy, Assistant Director of STOP, reported that the take-backs were successful. “The take backs went well,” Murphy said. “Through both the Williamson and Gilbert sites, we took back approximately 120 pounds of medication,” Murphy continued.
The event offered a confidential and safe way to dispose of medications. Drop off locations for Mingo County residents were available in both Williamson and Gilbert.
Properly disposing of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medication ensures that they are not readily available to our youth. Non-medical prescription drug use rates second highest amongst all youth illicit drug users.
Nationally, 10 percent of youth aged 12 to 25 reported non-medical uses of prescription drugs in the last 30 days according to statistics gathered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Other SAMHSA statistics say that 75 percent of prescription drugs that are abused or misused are not purchased off the street or written by a physician, but are given by, bought from or stolen from a family member or friend.
Though helpful when properly taken under the supervision of a doctor, prescription medication can be toxic to the environment if flushed down the toilet or thrown away with the trash. In fact, discarded medication is getting into the nation’s waste water treatment plants and getting into drinking water supplies.
Scientists with the United States Geological Society conducted a study of over 130 rivers, streams and other waterways in the U.S. and found antibiotics, anti-depressants, birth control pills, seizure medication, cancer treatments, pain killers, tranquilizers and cholesterol- lowering compounds in over 80 percent of those tested.
Legally, to properly dispose of prescription medication, they must be destroyed by the owner of the prescription or given to law enforcement for destruction.
For more information on the DEA’s National Take-Bake Initiative, visit www.dea.gov.