On Sept. 29, the Cherokee County Drug Endangered Children team, along with the Cherokee Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs.
Bring your medications for disposal to the Hy-Vee Pharmacy at 800 N. 2nd St. in Cherokee, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Last April, Americans turned in 552,161 pounds -- 276 tons - of prescriptions drugs at over 5,600 location sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,300 state and local law enforcement partners. In its four previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in over 1.5 million pounds -- nearly 775 tons - of pills.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish 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.
Four days of the first Take Back event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substance Act to 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.
The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long-term care facilities to dispose of their residents' controlled substances in certain instances.
DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like the Cherokee Police Department and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug Take Back events.
The medications that are gathered during these events are sent to the DEA for final disposal.