The Roswell Police Department’s Neighborhood Watch program, working with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will again offer citizens an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.
The public can bring unwanted and unneeded prescription drugs to the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day event Saturday, Oct. 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Roswell Police Department (128 W. Second St.), where Neighborhood Watch is based. The service is free and those bringing prescription drugs can remain anonymous, no questions asked. Please note, however, the DEA – which will dispose of the collected items – cannot accept liquids or needles, only pills or patches.
This event, held twice a year, has seen Roswell-area citizens turn in hundreds of pounds of pills at each event in recent years. In the last five years, citizens have dropped off a total of 3,485 pounds of old and unused prescription drugs at the Roswell event. This year’s first Prescription Drug Take Back Day in April brought in the greatest amount of medications, 518 pounds, the local event has seen in the last five years.
This initiative addresses a public safety and public health issue. According to the DEA, medicines that languish in home cabinets are susceptible to misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are 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, officials say a couple of often-used methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — pose potential safety and health hazards.
For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the national Take Back Day event, visit the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control website (http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/). People can also call Richard Lucero at Roswell Neighborhood Watch at (575) 420-1369 for more information about the local event.