FALLS CREEK – The Pennsylvania State Police in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration is providing the public with an opportunity to prevent prescription drug abuse and theft by disposing of any that are potentially dangerous expired, unused or unwanted.
The DuBois-based state police will provide a venue during its National Prescription Drug Take Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at its barracks located at 101 Preston Way in Falls Creek, Jefferson County.
The service is free to the public and will be anonymous without any questions being asked, state police said. In a press release, state police said that last April, Americans turned in 376,593 pounds – 188 tons – of prescription drugs at nearly 5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement partners.
State police said the initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. “Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to 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 these drugs.
“Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. 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.”
Four days after the initial Take Back event in September 2010, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010. It amended the Controlled Substance Act, allowing an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them.
The act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long-term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. The DEA has begun drafting regulations to implement the act, a process that can take as long as 24 months.
Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like the Pennsylvania State Police and the DEA, will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.