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Sheriff deputies collecting unused prescription drugs

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POSTED September 18, 2012 1:23 a.m.

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity on Saturday, Sept. 29, to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous prescription drugs that are expired, unused, and unwanted.

The four identified county locations where people can bring their medications for disposal on that day re the following:

• Kennedy Community Center at 2800 So. D St., in Stockton,

• Rite Aid-Lincoln Center South at 6455 Pacific Ave., Stockton,

• St. Michael’s Church, 5882 N. Ashley Lane, Stockton,

• Mountain House Community Center, 230 S. Sterling Dr., Mountain House

The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last October, Americans turned in 377,080 pounds – 188.5 tons – of prescription drugs at over 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,000 state and local law enforcement partners. In its three previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in almost a million pounds – nearly 500 tons – of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and 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 U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods of disposing of unused medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – both post potential safety and health hazards.

Four days after the first event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug  Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long-term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is drafting regulations to implement the ACT, a process that can take as long as 24 months. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.

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