COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) – About 5,527 pounds of unwanted or expired medication was collected by the DEA and law enforcement agencies in South Carolina during a national drug take-back event on Saturday, October 26.
According to a news release from the Drug Enforcement Administration, over 324 tons of prescription medication was collected nationally during the DEA's seventh Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign.
"The local amount collected is the highest amount ever collected in the state out of the seven previous Take-Backs and the national amount collected is the second highest total ever collected," stated "Harry S. Sommers, the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. "I would like to thank the multitude of partners (both law enforcement and non-law enforcement) who worked tirelessly to make this event another great success."
Among the participating local agencies, Conway Police collected 27 pounds of prescription drugs, and Brunswick County Sheriff's Office collected nearly 8,000 controlled prescription pills, and several hundred pounds of non-controlled, over the counter medications.
According to the DEA:
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Prescription drugs that languish in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high; more Americans (6.8 million) currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens like LSD, and inhalants (sniffed household products) combined, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
Take-Back Days are presently needed because the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as originally written didn't provide a way for patients, caregivers, and pet owners to dispose of such controlled substance (CS) medications such as painkillers, sedatives, tranquilizers, and stimulants like ADHD drugs. People were flushing their old meds down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, but in recent years medicines have been found in the nation's water supplies, and medications were being retrieved from the trash by those who would abuse or sell them.