Local PDs want your pharmaceutical drugs

The Sun-Gazette

Many households may have unused or expired drugs in their medicine cabinet. These drugs may become a safety hazard placing children, teenagers and other members of your household at risk of an overdose.

There are many reasons to safely dispose of unused medicines:

• Medicines may lose their effectiveness after they have expired, and this can be dangerous to your health if you have certain medical conditions

• The recommendations may have changed on some of your over-the-counter and prescription medicines (For example, it is no longer recommended that children under four years of age take cough or cold medicines)

• Leftover medicine can become a safety hazard to children, teenagers or other members of your household who do not understand the dangers of taking medicine not prescribed for them

• Some prescription medicines such as painkillers can be removed from your home without your knowledge and contribute to your community’s drug abuse problem

You should inventory your medicines. Check expiration dates and remove all unlabeled containers, expired prescription and over-the-counter medicines and any leftover prescription drugs. It is important that medicine is disposed of in a safe manner.

That’s why local law enforcement agencies are ready to take your unwanted prescription drugs. Now through Saturday, Sept. 27, Tulare County residents can drop unused and expired medications as part of the National Drug Take Back Day. The following agencies will accept prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, pet medications and vitamins at the following times and locations:

• Exeter – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 24-26 at the Exeter Police Department, 100 N. C St. in Exeter. Call 559-592-3103.

• Farmersville – 8 a.m. to Noon Sept. 24-26 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Farmersville Police Department, Civic Center, 909 W. Visalia Road in Farmersville. Call 559-747-0321.

• Woodlake -10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Woodlake Police Department, 350 N. Valencia Blvd. in Woodlake. Call 559-564-3346.

• Lindsay – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Lindsay Department of Public Safety, 185 N. Gale Hill Ave. in Lindsay. Call 559-562-2511.

In order to properly dispose of unwanted and unused prescription medications, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement agencies are asking residents to place pills, capsules, and tablets of unwanted medication and vitamins into a zip-lock plastic bag. Keep liquid medication in its original container then place it in a zip-lock plastic bag. Medication from hospitals, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, etc., will not be accepted.

Americans nationwide showed their support for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day program by dropping off more prescription pills than ever April 26.

After seven previous Take Back Days spread over almost four years, 780,158 pounds (390tons) of pills were brought to the 6,072 collection sites that DEA and its 4,423 state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners set up on April 26 so the public could discard ununused and expired prescription drugs from medicine cabinets, bedside tables, and kitchen drawers.  When added to that collected at previous DEA-coordinated Take-Back events, 4.1 million pounds (2,123 tons) of prescription medications have been removed from circulation.

“DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back events provide an obviously needed and valued service to the public, while also reducing prescription drug abuse and trafficking,” said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.  “By taking these medications off their hands, our citizens know they have made their own families and communities safer.  We continue to work toward making the process for disposing of controlled substance medications by users and their caregivers even easier by creating regulations that will enable the public to regularly, safely, and conveniently dispose of such medicines when they are no longer needed or wanted.”

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, secure, and environmentally responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse and trafficking of medications.  This is important because the non-medical use of controlled substance (CS) medications is at an all-time high, with 6.8 million Americans reporting having abused prescription drugs in 2012, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) released in 2013.  That same study revealed more than 54 percent of people who abuse prescription pain relievers got them through friends or relatives, a statistic that includes raiding the family medicine cabinet.

The DEA’s Take-Back events are a significant piece of the Obama administration’s strategy for preventing prescription drug abuse and trafficking, which also includes education of health care providers, patients, parents and youth; enhancing and encouraging the establishment of prescription drug monitoring programs in all the states; and increased enforcement to address doctor shopping and pill mills.

Take-Back Days are presently needed because the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as originally written did not provide a way for patients, caregivers, and pet owners to dispose of such CS medications as painkillers, sedatives, and stimulants like ADHD drugs. People were flushing their old meds down the toilet or throwing them in the trash.

DEA launched its first Take-Back event in September 2010, after which the President signed  the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amended the CSA to allow people, including residents of long term care facilities, to regularly, conveniently, and safely dispose of their CS medications by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. DEA is in the process of finalizing regulations to implement the Act, publishing on December 21, 2012, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Disposal of Controlled Substances that presented possible disposal options.

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