A cooperative effort on the part of the Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office and Drug Enforcement Administration will bring area residents an opportunity to dispose of unwanted or outdated medications. On Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. a prescription drug take-back program, the 13th opportunity in seven years, will take place for Palo Alto County residents.
The premise of the drug take-back program is simple - to prevent pill abuse and theft by allowing area residents to rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Residents may bring their pills for disposal to the Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office at 2001 11th Street in Emmetsburg on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. This service is completely free and anonymous, but the DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches in this collection effort.
In October of 2016, Americans turned in 366 tons (over 730,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,200 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 12 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 7.1 million pounds-more than 3,500 tons-of pills.
The Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office collected 22 pounds of medications in the October 2016 drug take-back program. Those drugs were sent to the DEA to be incinerated.
"In all we have collected 132 pounds of drugs over the past nine drug collection events," noted Palo Alto County Sheriff Lynn Schultes. "We will be conducting testing for potential deputies on this date so we will not be able to have personnel standing by that morning. But, you can still drop off your medications at the Sheriff's Office lobby in the white medications box. This box resembles an upright mailbox and is always accessible to everyone 365 days a year in our front lobby."
This prescription drug take-back initiative addresses an ongoing public safety and public health issue of vital importance. Medicines that languish in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. The rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. continue to be alarmingly high, along with the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies are showing that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
And, the problem has become more acute as Americans are now being told that traditional methods for disposing of unused medicines, such as flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, now pose potential safety and health hazards.
If you have medications and are not able to drop them off yourself, please call 712-852-3535 and ask for Sheriff Lynn Schultes, who will assist you in making arrangements for your medications to be picked up.
"I want to say 'Thank you' to those who utilize this method of medication disposal. Please tell a friend about this program and bring them with you." Schultes said.
For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 29 Take Back Day event, go to the DEA Diversion websi