River Country Journal
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October 21, 2011

Taking back unwanted prescription drugs October 29th

On Saturday, October 29th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Community Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services of St. Joseph County, Substance Abuse Task Force, Local Police Departments, 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, and unwanted prescription drugs.  Bring your medications for disposal to the following police stations:

St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department:  650 East Main Street, Centreville, MI 49032

Three Rivers Police Department: 333 West Michigan Avenue, Three Rivers, MI 49093

Sturgis Police Department: 122 North Nottawa Street, Sturgis, MI 49091

Constantine Police Department: 115 White Pigeon Street, Constantine, MI 49042

Colon Police Department: 127 E. State Street, Colon, MI 49040

Burr Oak Police Department: 228 S. Third Street

Each police department will accept prescription and over the counter tablets and capsules. They will NOT accept prescription and over the counter liquids and patches, illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine or any sharps such as needles and syringes. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last April, Americans turned in 376,593 pounds—188 tons—of prescription drugs at nearly 5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement partners.  In St. Joseph County 77 pounds were collected at local police departments.

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 the first Take-Back event in September 2010, 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 and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.

For more information, contact Amber Cunningham at (269) 816-4385 or acunningham@stjoecmh.org.

Source:  News release from Community Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services of St. Joseph County


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