The Richmond Register

Local News

September 16, 2010

Taking them back

DEA hosts anonymous pill collection campaign

RICHMOND — Local law enforcement agencies will be participating in a nationwide effort to rid homes of unwanted, unused or expired prescription medications.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back campaign will be Saturday, Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and provides an anonymous way for people to take these drugs out of their homes and ensure safe disposal.

During these hours, drop-off locations will be located at the Richmond Police Department, 1721 Lexington Road, the Kentucky State Police Post 7, 699 Eastern Bypass and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office at 135 W. Irvine Street.

“It’s really important that if people have them, they get them out of their house,” said Jim Wilson, assistant Richmond police chief. “They may be becoming targets and not really know it. A lot of our burglaries can be traced to people who have medication on hand that they may not be taking.”

Children also could get the medicine from their own home or a friend’s home, he said.

“Burglaries, robberies, home invasions and thefts are all related to drugs in some form or fashion,” said Maj. Bob Mott, of the Richmond Police Department Criminal Investigation Division. “I can’t think of a home invasion that we’ve had that wasn’t drug related.”

The prescription medication will be collected in boxes which are later picked up by DEA officials. The drugs are then incinerated, Wilson said.

Collection boxes will be in the parking lot of the Richmond Police Department and will be attended by police officers during the four-hour period. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office and KSP drop-off locations will be located inside the buildings.

“I think this keeps a lot of these pills from falling into the hands of children and teenagers,” said Col. Rick Johnson of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. “It would cut back on the potential for abuse and it keeps this stuff from going into our rivers and streams. We’re proud to be a part of the collection efforts.”

Anyone who no longer needs a controlled substance that has been prescribed to them or has expired prescription drugs in their home can bring them to the Central Kentucky Area Drug Task Force (third floor of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department) for year-round disposal. This process also is done on an anonymous basis.

Berea residents are encouraged by the Berea Police Department to take any expired or surplus prescription pills to a drop off location in Richmond.

Less than a month into the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign, over 2,700 sites nationwide have joined the effort that seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft.

“The National Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign will provide a safe way for Americans to dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs,” said Michele M. Leonhart, acting administrator for the DEA. “This effort symbolizes DEA’s commitment to halting the disturbing rise in addiction caused by their misuse and abuse. 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.”

KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer encouraged citizens to take advantage of this opportunity to rid their home of expired or unwanted prescription medications.

“Prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem and Kentucky has been identified as a hot spot for this type of activity,” Brewer said. “The unique aspect of this initiative is that it is free and anonymous. No requests for identification will be made to anyone bringing medications in to KSP Posts.”

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Admini-stration recently reported that nearly seven million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, and almost one in five are teenagers.

The administration also reported that last year, almost 500 people died in Kentucky because of prescription drug overdoses.

Visit www.dea.gov for drop-off locations in surrounding counties.

Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@richmondregister.com or 624-6608.

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