On Saturday, October 22, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its 12th opportunity in six years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your pills for disposal to the Sheriff’s Office squad car parked in front of the Ayrshire Community Center and the Cylinder Fire Hall from 10:00-10:30 a.m. We will also have cars at the Sheriff’s Office in Emmetsburg from 11:00-12:00. We cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps, only pills or patches. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
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.
Last April, Americans turned in 447 tons (over 893,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 11 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 6.4 million pounds—about 3,200 tons—of pills.
The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office has sent 110 pounds to the DEA for proper disposal since our first collection in April of 2012. This past April we collected 12 pounds, which was 10 pounds less than our largest collect of 22 pound in Oct of 2013. I am hoping this collect we can surpass the 22 pounds, but we can only do that with your cooperation. Please visit with your family and friends and talk about this program with them and invite them to this event. If you can, bring them with you and drop off your medications together.
I am excited to advise that Dairy Queen has partnered with us for this event. This year everyone who brings in medications to any of our three collection sites will receive a certificate for a free TREAT of their choice. This certificate will be redeemable at the Emmetsburg Dairy Queen only. I am very pleased with Dairy Queen’s support for this very worthwhile event and their assistance in providing a safe community!!
As in past years, if you live in Palo Alto County and are not able to get to a collection site on October 22, contact me at the Sheriff’s Office so other arrangements can be made to receive your medications. This will have to be done prior to the planned event so all medications can be shipped out on October 24th. Please call the Sheriff’s Office at 712-852-3535 and ask for Sheriff Schultes.