Tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 26 the Lee County Sheriff’s Department, in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will give the public the opportunity to rid their homes of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.
Over the past three years, Americans turned in 995,185 pounds of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement partners.
“We’ve participated in the pill drop many times,” Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said. “We’ve had as many as nine garbage bags full of medicine during one campaign.”
Four days after the 2010 Take Back 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. Lee Countians are now advised that old methods of disposing unused medicines, such as flushing them down the tiolet or throwing them in the trash, pose potential safety and health hazards.
“Besides the envioromental concerns, following these guide lines just makes sense,” Johnson said. “The whole idea is not to just get them out of the house, but to make sure no one gets a hold of this potentially dangerous drugs. “Throwing them in the trash just transfers the problem. The only safe solution is them to bring them to our office where they will be disposed of properly.”
The DEA has begun drafting regulations to implement that Controlled Substances Act, a process that can take as long as 24 months. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like the Lee County Sheriff Department and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.
The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Lee County Sheriff’s Department is located at 510 N. Commerce Street. Their phone number is 680-5784.