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INDEPENDENCE — On Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Independence Town Police, Woody's Pharmacy and the Grayson County unit of the Southwest Virginia Medical Reserve Corps will give the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including veterinary items.
Bring your medications for disposal to Woody's Pharmacy at 576 East Main Street in the Guynn Shopping Center for the Drug Take Back event.
The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. This event is sponsored nationally by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Last April, Americans turned in 552,161 pounds — 276 tons — of prescription drugs at more than 5,600 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,300 state and local law enforcement partners. In the four previous events, DEA and its partners took in over 1.5 million pounds — nearly 775 tons — of pills.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines forgotten 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.
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 environmental safety and health hazards.
Four days after the first event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an "ultimate user" of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. It also allows the Attorney General to authorize long-term care facilities to dispose of their residents' controlled substances in certain instances.
DEA is drafting regulations to implement the act. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.
• For more information on the Drug Take Back event, call Woody’s Pharmacy at 773-2211.