ALTON — The Alton Police Department will participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, Police Chief Jason “Jake” Simmons said Friday in a press release.
People can dispose of unneeded, unwanted or expired medications safely in the lobby of the Alton Police Department, 1700 E. Broadway.
Additional participating collection sites can be found at dea.gov. This site will be continuously updated with new locations.
The event addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many people are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. In fact, in Madison County alone, 14,367,940 oxycodone and hydrocodone pills were legally sold in 2014 — equivalent to 54 pills for every county resident. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarming, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses. Nationally, 41 people die every day from prescription overdoses. Studies show many abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away — both potential safety and health hazards.
“Prescription drug abuse is a huge problem that often has devastating consequences,” Simmons said. “This is a great opportunity for our residents to help reduce the threat, particularly to our youths. Please take a moment to clean out your medicine cabinet and help us keep our community safe from prescription drug abuse.”
In the last take-back event, the DEA collected 893,498 pounds of unwanted medicines at approximately 5,400 sites nationwide. “We are acutely aware of the connection between prescription drug misuse/abuse and heroin,” Lt. Seth Stinnett said. “Proper medication disposal is a way for us all to work together to reduce access to these highly addictive substances.”