National event: Rx for safe drug disposal

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Local man seeking assistance to make regional collections successful

Statistics indicate that teens are increasingly raiding family medicine cabinets to get high, and a Parkesburg man wants help to raise awareness of the problem and work toward eliminating it.

Casey Jones, who heads Transformation Initiative for Building Healthy Communities Through Healthy Families, wants the public to be aware that free community collections for prescription medicine will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 29.

National Prescription Drug Take Back, an initiative of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to keep tons of unused prescription drugs out of the hands of children and public water supplies annually, also requires local efforts.

Jones has been working to recruit law enforcement agencies to create collection locations, and creating and distributing fliers, posters, and church bulletin inserts that not only promote the event but also help educate the public about this rapidly increasing drug of choice by teens.

During the last Prescription Drug Take Back Day in April, law enforcement agencies collected over a half ton of unused prescription drugs in Chester County alone, Casey said.  April regional collection totals increased more than 70% over the October 2011 event.

According to a 2009 survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, seven million Americans age 12 years and older abused prescription drugs for non-medical purposes, up from 6.2 million in 2008, a 13 percent increase in one year. The majority of medicines are obtained from friends and family, many of whom are unaware of prescription drugs that become missing from medicine cabinets and drawers, the DEA reports.

Law enforcement agencies collect unused prescription drugs – no questions asked – at venues ranging from supermarkets to senior centers and then turn them over to the DEA for safe disposal. Individuals and organizations interested in joining this effort can contact Jones at bps461@msn.com or 610-707-1494 with their geographic preference.  Materials will be distributed in early September, once the DEA has completed registration of participating law enforcement agencies.

Police departments must register by Friday to participate.  Registration information is available from Jones or through the www.dea.gov website.  The public also can access a database of participating departments and collection points throughout the county, updated daily, at the DEA website.

 

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