Dea Partners with State, Local Police for Sept. 29 Drug Take-back

in Drug Crimes, on

The Drug Enforcement Administration and law enforcement agencies throughout North Carolina are once again collaborating on a prescription drug take-back program. The April 28, 2012 National Prescription Drug Take-back Day was such a success that the DEA has scheduled another for Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Prescription drug abuse has become both a major health issue and a major crime issue in the U.S. This is not a new problem, certainly — as far back as 2008, for example, prescription drugs were linked to at least half of the country’s 36,450 overdose deaths. Teens and adults are more likely to abuse prescription drugs than every other drug but marijuana, according to the DEA.

What that means is that prescription drugs, for the most part painkillers like oxycodone, pose a greater threat to our society than methamphetamine, heroin or cocaine. Yet the criminal justice system and public policy in general continue to focus on those other drugs, even as the line between controlled drugs and illegal drugs continues to blur.

The drug take-back program targets a major source of controlled substances: the medicine cabinet. Doctors prescribe enough of a drug to last two weeks, but the symptoms are gone after one; the rest of the pills sit on the shelf. If you throw them away, you risk having someone finding them by going through the trash. If you don’t throw them away, you risk someone in your house abusing them.

The challenge, then, is to get them out of circulation safely, and the take-back days have proved extraordinarily successful at doing that. In April, the DEA collected 276 tons of unwanted or expired medications. Added to the three previous take-back days, law enforcement agencies across the country have collected 774 tons, or 1.5 million pounds of prescription drugs.

For specific drop-off locations in Wake County, go to the DEA’s website, www.dea.gov.

Source: Drug Enforcement Administration, “DEA Holds its Fifth Prescription Drug Take-Back Day September 29 as Public Participation Continues to Rise,” Sept. 25, 2012

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