An Ounce of Prevention

Cheryl Jonese

Got Drugs? ~ Don’t be an ‘Accidental Dealer’

Most abused prescription drugs come from family and friends. You could be a drug dealer and not even know it.
Unused or expired prescription medications are a public safety issue leading to accidental poisoning and overdose. The non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in America. Eight out of 10 new heroin users began by abusing prescription painkillers and moved to heroin when they could no longer obtain or afford those painkillers.
Pocahontas County Prevention Coalition in cooperation with the Pocahontas County Sheriff’s Department and DEA will Take Back unwanted prescription drugs October 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Pocahontas County Career Center, 200 Eighth Street in Marlinton.
This is an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.
The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.
The service is free and anonymous – no questions asked.
Last May, the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state, local and tribal law enforcement partners collected 893,498 pounds of unwanted medicines – about 447 tons – at nearly 5,400 sites throughout all 50 states, beating its previous high of 390 tons in the spring of 2014 by 57 tons, or more than 114,000 pounds.
The top five states with the largest collections, in order, were Texas (nearly 40 tons); California (32 tons); Wisconsin (31 tons); Illinois (24 tons); and Massachusetts (24 tons).
West Virginia collected 5,876 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. There is another Take Back location at the State Police office located at 16212 Seneca Trail, Buckeye, beside the Marlinton Middle School.
For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the October 22 Take Back Day event, go to the DEA Diversion website

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