Today, the DEA will partner with local law enforcement in 46 locations across Mississippi for another “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative.”
The event will be held from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., and it is a free and anonymous system for those who want to dispose of unused prescription drugs.
“You pull up, you drop your unused and unwanted prescription medications in the box, and you drive off. We are not going to look in the box, we’re not going to do anything else,” said Derryle Smith, Assistant Special Agent in Charge with the DEA said.
The DEA has held 15 events of this nature over the past eight years, and they have collected more than 9 million pounds of prescription medications in the hope of getting drugs out of the hands of those who may choose to abuse them.
“Around 53% of drug abusers get their drugs from friends or a family member. Sometimes that means stealing them from mom and dad or even from their grandparents,” Smith said.
A news release from the DEA also mentions how this a more suitable solution to disposing of prescription drugs. After being collected, the drugs are incinerated rather than being flushed down a toilet, which they say can be a hazard.
“Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. DEA launched its prescription drug take-back program when both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration advised the public that flushing these drugs down the toilet or throwing them in the trash posed potential safety and health hazards.”
Smith said that participation in Mississippi has trailed behind surrounding states in year’s past. Last year, Mississippi had around 3,800 pounds, and Smith said that it’s wishful thinking to believe that the lower numbers are due to a lack of drugs in the state.
“I’d like to attribute that to us not having a lot, but we need more involvement. We need more people to come out and get rid of these drugs. We need to work on this opioid problem,” he said.
The DEA cannot accept “liquids, needles or sharps” as a part of the take-back initiative. The public can find a nearby collection site at www.DEATakeBack.com or by calling 800-882-9539.
The DEA holds this event twice a year; once in the spring and again the fall.