On Saturday, Sept. 26, the Highland Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its 10th opportunity in five years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. anyone can brings pills they wish to dispose of to Highland Police Department, 820 Mulberry St. (The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.) The service is free and anonymous — no questions asked.
Madison County officials will also be sponsoring an identical National Take-Back Initiative from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 26 in parking lot on 2nd Street, behind the Madison County Administration Building, 157 N. Main St. in Edwardsville. State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons, Coroner Steve Nonn, and Sheriff John Lakin are once again encouraging Madison County residents to bring their expired, or unwanted prescription or over-the-counter medications. There will also be free prescription lock bags to the first 25 individuals who bring their medications to the Edwardsville site.
Last September, Americans turned in 309 tons (over 617,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at nearly 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. When those results are combined with what was collected in its eight previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 4.8 million pounds — more than 2,400 tons — of pills.
This initiative 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 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 for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards.