FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Major Lafayette Woods, Jr.
Operation Commander/Public Information Officer
TRI-COUNTY DRUG TASK FORCE/JEFFERSON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE TAKING BACK UNWANTED PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: Jefferson County, Arkansas – March 24th 2012 – On Saturday, September 29th 2012 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of this year’s 5th National Take-Back Initiative the Tri-County Drug Task Force/Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in collaboration with 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 and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your medications for disposal to the Brookshires located at 2800 S. Hazel Street in Pine Bluff, AR., where the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Mobile Incident Command Center will be on sight. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Locally, last year’s collection totals surpassed the previous take-back event by more than 60 lbs. Those estimates totaled 126 lbs of prescription medications collected, equivalent to several thousand pills. However, nationally citizens turned in a record-breaking 552,161 pounds (276 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,659 take-back sites that were available in all 50 states and U.S. territories. When the results of the four Take-Back Days to date are combined, the DEA and its state, local, and tribal law-enforcement and community partners have removed over 1.5 million pounds (774 tons) of medication from circulation.
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 after last fall’s event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances 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 has begun drafting regulations to implement the Act, a process that can take as long as 24 months. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like the Tri-County Drug Task Force, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.