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Thumbs up: Disposing of drugs assists effort to curb abuse of medication

Apr. 23, 2013 @ 11:30 PM

It's time to check your medicine cabinets -- or anywhere else you might keep medications -- to determine whether you have any prescription drugs that are no longer needed or have expired.

One reason is that there will be a perfect, hassle-free opportunity to dispose of those unwanted medications during the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27. Across the nation, thousands of collection points will be set up, including about two dozen within 50 miles of Huntington.

A more important aspect of this event is that it offers a way for people to take a step to reduce prescription drug abuse, which is particularly acute in Appalachia. A sizable portion of abused drugs are diverted from appropriate use through family and friends. In some cases, people share the drugs; in others, they are stolen. In either case, the non-medical use of the drugs contributes to a problem that yields deadly overdoses, breeds crime and often trouble at work or school.

If people clear out unneeded or expired drugs from their homes, the supply is reduced as well as some of the risk.

The process is simple. Collect your unwanted medications, mark out your name on the package if you wish and go to the nearest collection site, which can be found on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration website, dea.gov. Once there, you simply turn over the medications to an officer, with no questions asked. Then you're done.

More than 2 million pounds of prescription drugs have been collected nationwide since 2010, and last September 244 tons were collected and disposed of, including nearly two tons in West Virginia.

Please add to the total this Saturday.

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