(Posted Sept. 17, 2015)
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office will hold its 8th annual Drug Take-Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 26 at the office’s communications center at Elm and Garfield streets in London. The event is being held in conjunction with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
“This is an opportunity for county residents to take an active part in the war on drugs,” said Madison County Sheriff Jim Sabin. “Unused or expired prescription or over-the-counter medications will be accepted with no questions asked.”
The West Jefferson Police Department also will have a drug take-back drop-off point at the gazebo in downtown West Jefferson at Main and North Center streets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 26.
Deputies and officers will staff the drop-off points and will accept any form of pills, capsules, tablets, cold remedies, pain killers, vitamins, ointments, creams, inhalants and liquids. Needles and syringes will not be accepted.
It is recommended for privacy purposes that a patient’s name, the name of the drug, and other pertinent information be removed from a medication.
Since the first drug take-back day, the sheriff’s office has collected over 350 pounds of medications. In nine previous take-back days, 4,823,251 pounds or 2,411 tons of drugs have been collected nationwide by the DEA.
“When used or expired medications are stored in the family medicine cabinet or in a kitchen cabinet, they can become easily accessible,” said Sabin. “They 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.”
The family medicine cabinet is also a prime target for thieves.
“There is a high resale value for unused OxyContin or Vicodin or even inhalants,” Sabin said of those types of medications readily found in medicine cabinets. “And thieves may be after medications to satisfy their own addictions.”
Nevertheless, Sabin points out that drug abuse and addiction can strike any family regardless of their background or family situation.
“When that happens it is both extremely sad and devastating to all members of the family,” he said. “It can happen to anyone regardless of age.”
Lt. Eric Semler, head of the county sheriff’s office investigation unit, said that drug abuse fuels possible thefts of residences in the county.
“Many of those individuals addicted to prescription medications, heroin and other narcotics had their first contact with drugs they found in medicine cabinets in their own homes,” Semler said. “I highly recommend getting those medications out of the home and taking them to the drug take-back drop-off point.”
It is not unusual to see people bringing shopping bags filled with outdated medications to the drop-off points. Deputies have noted that some of those medications are 15 and 20 years old.
“Folks have told us that they are extremely pleased for the opportunity to safely drop off their medications and know that they will be disposed of confidentially and properly,” Sabin said.
He also urged families as well as administrators at senior living centers to check on medications that seniors may have been taking that may have expired or are no longer needed, and could cause confusion regarding dosage regimens.
For more information on Drug Take-Back Day, contact the Madison County Sheriff’s Office at (740) 852-1212.