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Community responds to Drug Take-Back Day

By Tamas Mondovics

Area residents had the opportunity to demonstrate their interest in the betterment of the community after being called on to take part in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative. The effort is under the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration jurisdiction and addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses because of these drugs.

In the United States, 85,500 people died of a drug overdose in just one year (August 2019-August 2020). It is the largest number of drug overdoses on record in the United States within one year and a 27 percent increase in deaths year after year. Synthetic opioids, such as illicit fentanyl, are the primary driver of the increase in overdose deaths.This month’s event was scheduled for Saturday, April 24, 2021, and has once again allowed the public the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

That the local effort was a sure success, there is little doubt. According to Kandas Motsinger, nearly 80 pounds of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications were collected in Johnson County.

“We have collected 74.5 pounds of unwanted prescription medications during our Drug Take-Back Day,” Motsinger said. “A special thank you is due to our volunteers, Mountain City Police Department, Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, and the participating fire
departments, Shady Valley and Butler. This day would not have been possible without you.”

This April’s event was the DEA’s 20th nationwide event since its inception 11 years ago. According to DEA officials, last fall, Americans turned in nearly 883,000 pounds of prescription drugs at almost 6,200 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 5,000 from its state and local law enforcement partners.DEA and its partners have collected nearly 6,350 tons of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications since the inception of the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative in 2010.

In addition to DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, there are many other ways to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs every day, including the 11,000 authorized collectors available all year long. For more information, visit DEA’s year-round collection site locator. You can learn more about the event and find a collection site at [email protected], or call 800-882-9539.