On Saturday, Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Enumclaw police and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your medications for disposal to the at 1705 Wells Street. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
While the Sept. 29 date is a specific event, note that the Buckley Police station at 132 S Cedar St. in Buckley has a permanent installation for proper drug disposal, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There's no need to wait until the end of the month if you need to dispose of your household prescription drugs sooner than that.
Last April, Americans turned in 552,161 pounds—276 tons—of prescription drugs at more than 5,600 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,300 state and local law enforcement partners, according to an agency press release. In its four previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in over 1.5 million pounds—nearly 775 tons—of pills.
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.
Four days after the first event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like Enumclaw and Buckley police and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.
Want to learn more about this issue, particularly as it affects the senior population in our community? Next Wednesday, Sept. 19, the Foothills Healthy Community Coalition (FHCC) will be giving a presentation on prescription drug abuse at the beginning at 12:30 p.m. All are welcome.