(Posted April 15, 2016)
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office encourages county residents to dispose of unused or expired prescriptions or over-the-counter medications on national Drug Take-Back Day. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 30, the public can bring the medications to the office’s communications center at Elm and Garfield streets in London.
This is the office’s 9th Annual Drug Take-Back Day, held in conjunction with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
“We can’t emphasize enough the importance of this event,” said Madison County Sheriff Jim Sabin. “Medications no longer used but stored in the medicine cabinet or on the shelf over the kitchen sink are potential opportunities for misuse by family members, including school-age children as well as adults.”
Deputies will staff the drop-off point and will accept any form of pills, capsules, tablets, cold remedies, painkillers, vitamins, ointments, creams, inhalants, and liquids—with no questions asked regardless of the quantity. However, needles and syringes will not be accepted.
It is recommended for privacy purposes that the patient’s name, the name of the drug, and other pertinent information be removed from a medication.
According to the DEA, during last year’s Drug Take-Back Day, 3,800 federal, state and local agencies took in more than 702,365 pounds of unused, expired or unwanted drugs at more than 5,000 collection sites throughout the country.
The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 6.5 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs, the majority of which are obtained by families and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
“Madison County is not immune to the national drug epidemic, especially the illegal use of heroin,” Sabin said. “Those unused or expired medications stored in the family medicine cabinet pose a curiosity for young children and a temptation for teens who may have given into peer pressure to try drugs as a cool thing to do. They don’t recognize that they are placing themselves at risk for drug abuse and addiction which can ruin their futures as well as cause great stress and anxiety for their families.”
Since the first drug take-back day, the sheriff’s office has collected at its check point more than 400 pounds of medications from county residents. Overall, since 2010, the DEA has collected 5,525,021 pounds of drugs through drug take-back day initiatives.
Lt. Eric Semler, who heads the sheriff’s office investigation unit, points to the family medicine cabinet as an open introduction not only to drug abuse but also to home thefts.
“In many cases of addiction to prescription medications, heroin and other narcotics, such as OxyContin or Percocet, it began with what a person found in the family medicine cabinet,” Semler said. “This addiction can lead a person intent on feeding his or her habitual drug abuse to break into a home in pursuit of drugs or items that can be sold to finance that habit.”
Voicing his concern, he added, “I highly recommend getting those medications out of the home and taking them to the drug take-back point for proper disposal.”
Sabin also urged families and administrators at senior living centers to check on medications that seniors may have been taking that have expired or are no longer needed as they can cause confusion regarding dosage regimens.
“Drug Take-Back Day provides our residents the opportunity to help make their homes as well as our county a safer place to live and enjoy,” he said.
For more information on Drug Take-Back Day, contact the Madison County Sheriff’s Office at (740) 852-1212.