Six months after a local record amount of unused and expired medications was turned in by Roswell-area residents, the Roswell Police Department’s Neighborhood Watch program is ready for the year’s second National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, an initiative of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) offering 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 Take Back Day event Saturday, Oct. 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Roswell Police Department (128 W. Second St.), where the Neighborhood Watch office is located. 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 are accepted during this event.
The twice-a-year Take Back Day has seen citizens from Roswell and the surrounding area turn in hundreds of pounds of pills at each event in recent years. Since Roswell began participating in the event in 2011, local citizens have dropped off a total of 4,759 pounds of old and unused prescription drugs at the Roswell event. The 601 pounds of unused and expired medications turned in at the Roswell Take Back Day in April was the most ever collected locally during the one-day event since Roswell began participating seven years ago. The drugs turned in at the Roswell event and other local events throughout the nation are retrieved by DEA officials for disposal by incineration.
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 disposing of unused medicines by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash create potential safety and health hazards.
For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, visit the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control website. People can call Richard Lucero at Roswell Neighborhood Watch at (575) 624-6770 ext. 118 for more information about the local event.