The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

October 9, 2013

Drug Take Back Day: Event helps dispose of unwanted medication

ENID, Okla. — A National Drug Take Back Day has been scheduled by the Drug Enforcement Administration later this month, to allow the public to dispose of unwanted or unused medications.

The 71st Medical Group Pharmacy at Vance Air Force Base has teamed with the 71st Flying Training Wing Drug Demand Reduction Office, Garfield County Drug and Alcohol Coalition and local law enforcement personnel to give people an opportunity to rid their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted medications.

Dena Patterson, with Enid PreventionWorkz, said a collection point will be set up from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 26 at Oakwood Mall, across from Regis Hair Salon, thanks to Oakwood Mall. “This is made possible by the Enid Police Department and Garfield County Sheriff’s Department.”

She said this initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.

Medicines that accumulate at home are at risk for 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 stockpiles of medications in the home,” Patterson said. “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.”

Oklahoma had 19.4 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 people, the fifth-highest mortality rate in the U.S., according to the study by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Trust for America’s Health, which analyzed 2010 data.

The report says Oklahoma is one of four states in which the number of drug overdose deaths tripled since 1999, when the rate was 5.4 per 100,000. Rates have doubled in 29 states during that time and quadrupled in four others, the report notes.

In 2010, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act, which amended the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to events like this.

Patterson said posters for this event were designed and produced by Autry Technology Center’s Graphic Arts class and are funded by ODMHSAS/SPF SIG, ODMHSAS/CSAP, Vance Air Force Base and GCDAC.

Patterson said local McDonald’s restaurants have agreed to hand out magnets featuring the take-back date and drug drop-off sites to all their customers.

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