September 15, 2010 Edition

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Sheriffs Deptartment, DEA
provide way to safely dispose
of prescription drugs

Lt. Stan Finley (left) and Capt. Jody Dotson with the Lawrence County Sheriffs Department show medications that will be destroyed as part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agencys "Take-Back" prescription drug program. Individuals can drop off out-of-date or unused medications at the Lawrence County Sheriffs Department on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

Gretchen Hunt

The Lawrence County Sheriffs Department will be one of many locations throughout the state and country where individuals can drop off unwanted prescription medication on Sept. 25.

The LCSD is participating in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agencys prescription drug "Take-Back" day, which is designed to give residents a safe way to dispose of medication that has expired or is no longer being taken.

The Drug Enforcement Agency points out that rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are increasing and most of the drugs are obtained from family and friends, much of which is unused prescriptions in a medicine cabinet.

"Recent surveys of kids show that prescription medications are the most abused by kids and most of them get them from home," LCSD Captain Jody Dotson said. "Arkansas leads the country, and Lawrence County leads the state."

Dotson said old medication may also have passed its shelf life and no longer be effective.

The Lawrence County Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Coalition is also helping with the program.

"We encourage everyone to check your cabinets and dispose of any extra medication," Alison Oglesby, project director with the ATOD Coalition, said. "Parents and grandparents need to be aware that unwanted, and especially unmonitored, prescriptions can easily fall into the wrong hands."

In addition to preventing possible abuse of prescription medication, the event will also guarantee that the drugs are disposed of properly.

According to information from the DEA, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of medications, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the garbage, both of which cause potential safety and health hazards.

Individuals can drop off prescription medication from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the sheriffs office, located in the Lawrence County Courthouse in Walnut Ridge. Dotson said all types of medication will be accepted, including over-the-counter medicine, and no questions will be asked.

"The drop-off will be completely anonymous," Dotson said. "We wont be asking for names or any information, we just want to get as many of these medications as possible to the DEA for disposal."

Dotson said all drugs collected will be trucked to El Dorado to be incinerated.

Michele M. Leonhart, acting administrator for the U.S. DEA, said they are committed to halting the rise in addiction caused by the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs.

"Working together with our state and local partners, the medical community, anti-drug coalitions and a concerned public, we will eliminate a major source of abused prescription drugs and reduce the hazard they pose to our families and communities in a safe, legal and environmentally sound way," she said.

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