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Many medicine cabinets contain outdated or unused prescription drugs. When taken as prescribed, the pills or capsules provide health benefits. If misused, they can contribute to accidental poisonings or overdoses.
Despite the frequent warnings by physicians and drug companies, many people are comfortable using drugs prescribed for others.
National surveys show how widespread the problem has become:
• More Americans abuse prescription drugs than those who abuse cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined.
• One in 10 high schools seniors use the narcotic Vicodin for non-medicinal purposes.
• The majority of teens using prescription drugs to get high get them from family and friends, including their home medicine cabinet.
• Prescription drugs are responsible for more overdose deaths than street drugs.
To combat the abuse of pharmaceuticals, the Drug Enforcement Agency is sponsoring the first nationwide prescription drug take-back on Sept. 25. LaRue Countians may participate by dropping off unused, unneeded or expired prescription pills 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at a collection site in the lower parking lot of the LaRue County Courthouse.
Over-the counter medications in pill or capsule form also will be accepted.
Liquid products, such as cough syrup, should remain sealed in the original container.
Solid Waste Manager Jill Gray, who is coordinating the local event, said the LaRue County Sheriff’s Department and Hodgenville City Police will provide security at the drop-off. The City of Hodgenville is co-sponsor.
Kentucky State Police and the Greater Hardin County Narcotics Task Force also are involved.
Wayne Edwards of the GHCNTF said the drop-off is not a container or bottle collection.
“It will greatly reduce the amount of waste that will need to be stored and disposed of if we can minimize the amount of containers that are deposited,” he said via e-mail.
It’s OK to drop the entire bottle in the collection bin, but any identifying labels should be removed first.
Law enforcement will not count, inventory or log medications.
Intra-venous solutions, injectables and needles will not be accepted due to potential hazards posed by blood-borne pathogens.
Another problem with leftover prescription drugs is disposal, according to a DEA press release. Many people flush unwanted pills or throw them in the trash – practices that are “an unacceptable risk to public health and safety.”
Pills accepted at the take-back will be disposed of properly. There is no charge for the program and people who take advantage of the drop-off do not have to identify themselves.
For more information, call Gray at 234-6619 or visit http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/takeback/.
Drop-off for outdated or unused
medication will be 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Sept. 25 in the Courthouse parking lot.