The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 24, 2013

Drug collection program prevents prescription abuse

Enid News & Eagle

— Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics’ program to collect old prescription drugs has to be considered a success.

In its two years, the program has collected more than 46,000 pounds of pharmaceutical drugs at permanent drop-off containers across the state. Two of those containers are in Enid, at Enid Police Department, 301 W. Garriott, and Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, in the basement of Garfield County Court House.

As OBN spokesman Mark Woodward said, properly disposing of expired medication is critical in the battle against one of the state’s worst problems. Prescription drug abuse in a growing problem in Oklahoma, particularly among teenagers who get their parents’ current or old prescriptions.

OBN Director Darrell Weaver had this sobering statistic: About 81 percent of the drug overdose deaths in Oklahoma are tied to prescription drugs.

Anything we can do to stop that should be done, and the drop-off containers are one way to fight the problem.

All anyone has to do is take their old prescriptions to either EPD or the sheriff’s office and deposit them in the containers.

OBN partners with Covanta Energy Co. to dispose of the medications collected. Through its Prescription for Safety Program, Covanta provides the safe disposal of medications. The medications become clean energy through Covanta’s Energy-from-Waste facility.

Another benefit of OBN’s disposal program is it keeps these medications from becoming an environmental problem.

If medications are flushed down the drain or disposed of in landfills, they can find their way into waterways and contaminate surface waters.

We urge people to participate in the disposal program. Simply put, it’s the right thing to do.