By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
For the seventh year this Saturday, the Washington County Sheriff?s office, Washington Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public the opportunity to safely dispose of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications with its annual spring participation in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
Between 10 a.m. and noon in the United Presbyterian Church parking lot at 209 E. Main St. in Washington, residents can bring their unused pills or patches for safe disposal. The program does not accept liquids, needles or sharps.
People can take the pills out of the pill bottles and put them in a Ziploc bag to keep their privacy protected.
The county participates in drug take back day usually twice a year and also has a prescription drop-off box located in the lobby of the Washington County Jail.
The program is designed to help keep the wrong people from acquiring the old prescription pills. In the past, the sheriff?s office reports it is a common occurrence for people to report prescriptions being stolen.
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 of disposing of unused medicines ? flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash ? both pose potential safety and health hazards. Studies show the majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends.
Last fall, Americans turned in 456 tons of prescription drugs at more than 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and almost 4,300 of its state and local law enforcement partners.
Overall, during the 14 previous take back events, the program has collected over 9 million pounds, more than 4,500 tons, of pills.
The sheriff?s office also offers a drop box inside the front door of the Washington County Jail where people can bring unused drugs for disposal.
The sheriff?s department received a grant from the governor?s office of Drug Control Policy for the drop-off box, which was installed at the Washington County Jail in February 2017.