September 29 is “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day” and the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) has partnered with local law enforcement agencies in Western North Carolina to give the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by safely disposing prescription drug medications at designated locations. Members of the community will be able to rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs by bringing them to one of the 42 sites open on Saturday. The service is free.
Franklin will have two locations operating on Saturday, one in the Kmart Plaza and the other in the Walmart shopping center. Both locations will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In announcing the event, U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins stated, “Prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions in our country. Prescription drugs are the second most commonly used category of drugs, behind marijuana and ahead of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined. Events like this give people the opportunity to safely remove prescription drugs from their homes and put them beyond the reach of those who may abuse them. Prescription drugs are highly addictive and can devastate families that may suffer from the deadly overdose of a loved one. This is why it is so important that we offer the public the opportunity to safely dispose of potentially deadly medications they no longer need.”
Last October, DEA and local law enforcement collected over 610 pounds of prescription drug medications in Mecklenburg, Rutherford and Cherokee Counties and over 7,500 pounds throughout the state. On a national level, last April, Americans turned in 552,161 pounds – 276 tons – of prescription drugs at over 5,600 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,300 state and local law enforcement partners.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines located 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 – pose potential safety and health hazards.
DEA and the U.S. Attorney’s office encourage parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.