Wetumpka Police Department to hold Drug Take-Back event

Published 5:38pm Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Wetumpka Police Department will be among the agencies nationwide participating in the seventh Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in three years.

Wetumpka Police Chief Celia Dixon said people can drop off unwanted or expired medications this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the intake table that will be set up in the Walmart parking lot.

“We encourage citizens to bring their outdated, unused prescriptions to us to destroy,” said Dixon. “Our goal is to keep these type of drugs out of harm’s way for children. We cannot stress enough the dangers of having medication around children who may or may not be supervised.”

The program is confidential and no personal information is collected. Those who bring medications for disposal are asked to remove or black out labels; or the police department will remove labels, Dixon said.

“This drop-off point is not only for the citizens of Wetumpka, but for anyone who has medication they need to dispose of,” she said. “If you are not able to join us that day, you may drop your medication off prior to the event at the police department. We will not accept medication after the event as it must be transported to another location.”

The DEA, in partnership with local-level groups, has organized six previous take-back days across the country. Combined national results of previous Take-Back Days were the removal of more than 2.8 million pounds (1,400 tons) of prescription drugs. State, local, and tribal law enforcement and the DEA partnered in the effort.

“This speaks volumes about the need to develop a convenient way to rid homes of unwanted, unused or expired prescription drugs,” said Dixon. “Until new laws are passed, law enforcement is the only entity that can help citizens legally and safely dispose of these drugs.”

The national effort is aimed at preventing medications from causing harm to others and to the environment. The collection program reduces the chance of medicines being used at youth parties or entering the water supply. It also focuses on the problem of prescription drug misuse.

State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson said, “We are aware that many times legitimately obtained prescription drugs are no longer needed and have the potential for misuse. Everyone should be mindful of the risks they pose and use this opportunity to dispose of their medications in this safe way.”

According to the 2011 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than six million Americans abuse prescription drugs. That same study revealed more than 70 percent of people abusing prescription pain relievers got them through friends or relatives, a statistic that includes raiding the family medicine cabinet.

“I am encouraged and proud of Alabama’s continued support of this valuable program,” said Attorney General Luther Strange. “Safely removing and disposing of potentially dangerous controlled substances from our homes is an important and basic step to fighting drug abuse and drug-related crimes. The overwhelming participation in previous Prescription Drug Take-Back Days has taken potentially dangerous drugs out of people’s homes, where they could be stolen by burglars or misused by children, making our state safer for the people of Alabama.”

If anyone has questions about the local Take-Back event, call the Wetumpka Police Department at 334-567-5321.

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