On April 30 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its 11th opportunity in six years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. The Sheriff’s Office will have a squad car in front of the Graettinger City Hall and the West Bend City Hall from 10:00-10:30 with a collection box for your disposal. There will also be a collection box at the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office from 11:00-12 noon. The Sheriff’s Office and DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Last September, Americans turned in 350 tons (over 702,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,000 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 10 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 5.5 million pounds—more than 2,750 tons—of pills. In the last 7 collection days the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office has collected 98 pounds.
This 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. 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.
For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 30 Take Back Day event, go to the DEA Diversion website or contact Sheriff Lynn J Schultes at 712-852-3535. If you are not able to make a collection site at the time specified that day, please give me a call so we can work out other arrangements. All drugs must be collected on or before April 30th so all medications can be sent to the DEA for proper disposal.