In conjunction with the United States Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Prescription Drug Tack-Back initiative, Jackson County Sheriff's Office has announced the addition of a prescription drug drop box located in the front lobby of the Sheriff’s Office.
The drop box, which was provided by a grant through The National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), will first be open to the public during the National Prescription Drug Tack Back weekend beginning Oct. 28. The drop box is intended to aid the community in legally and safely disposing of unwanted prescription drugs to ensure a safer home and cleaner environment for all citizens.
Citizens wanting to utilize the drop box are able to go to the Sheriff’s Office during regular business hours and dispose of any unwanted prescriptions without having to disclose any information about themselves or the medication.
According to Anna Lippard, member of the Healthy Carolinians of Jackson County’s substance abuse action team, a permanent location to dispose of unused medication is essential to ensure the safety of all citizens. “The drop box gives people the opportunity, instead of just once a year, to dispose of unwanted medications at any time,” noted Lippard.
The drop box is only one of the locations available on Oct. 28 and 29 for citizens to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs. Citizens may also bring unwanted medications to drop off locations at the Ingles of Sylva, Ingles of Cashiers, Food Lion Shopping Center in Cherokee, and information booth on Western Carolina University’s Campus. On Saturday, locations will be available from 2 to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both locations will be handled by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and will offer citizens the opportunity to anonymously deposit unwanted medications.
“Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem, not just for young people, but for people of all ages,” explained Lippard. “These take-back events are so important because they allow people to bring extra medicine to officials who can dispose of the medicines safely.” Lippard explained that studies have shown that although flushing extra medication down the toilet may dispose of the drug, it presents environment safety concerns, which is another reason the take-backs are important. All the medication that is collected is sent to the Drug Enforcement Agency to be properly destroyed.
Macon County is joining the initiative and will hold drop off locations at Main Street Pharmacy and Highlands Pharmacy located in Highlands, and the Walmart and Kmart parking lots in Franklin. Locations in Macon County will be opened on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The National Prescription Drug Take-Back initiative was established to address vital public safety and public health issues. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. The prescription drug abuse rates in the U.S. are extremely high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to the misuse of these drugs. Studies have shown that the majority of abused prescription drugs are often obtained from family and friends.
Operation Medicine Drop will be joining with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to monitor and organize events for the Take-Back weekend. Operation Medicine Drop is a partnership of Safe Kids North Carolina, the Riverkeepers of North Carolina, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of North Carolina and local law enforcement agencies. Operation Medicine Drop holds an annual prescription take-back week during Poison Prevention Week which occurs during the fourth week in March.