TAYLOR COUNTY—Local law enforcement officials have deemed this spring’s National Take Back Day a success, with over 82 pounds of unwanted and unneeded prescription drugs collected through various drop off locations.
Taylor County Sheriff Terry A. Austin teamed up with Taylor County Family Resources’ LAUNCH Coalition to help residents rid their cabinets of unwanted and outdated prescription medications.
The LAUNCH Coalition is a youth organization that has a goal of both learning and educating residents of the downfalls of drug, alcohol and vape usage, as well as gambling that can become addictive.
LAUNCH supervisor Bobby Jennings shared that the organization was happy to take part in National Take Back Day to help ensure the community stays safe.
“My dad was a veteran and was on many medications. People knew of the medications he was on, and it led to a break in at my parents’ house,” explained Jennings. “Events like this provide opportunities for individuals to ensure that medications are not falling into the wrong hands. Take Back Day also gives residents a chance to get medicines out of their homes to better protect families.”
The Taylor County Sheriff’s Department was set up in two locations during Saturday’s event, and in total, Austin reported the department collected 54.7 pounds of prescription medications.
“The event went very well, and we had a great turnout,” shared Austin. “We have heard a lot of concern from citizens that someone is going to break into their homes looking for the medications. Take Back Day provides comfort to individuals. They say that the feel better knowing these medications were properly disposed of.”
And while the sheriff’s department set up collection sites at Grafton Walmart and on Beech Street, across from the Family Resources building, the Grafton Police Department was hard at work with their collection at the Grafton Fire Department.
According to Deputy Chief Coleman Durrett, the department collected an additional 28 pounds of medications.
“We had a steady turnout throughout the day, with folks stopping by to drop of their unwanted medicines,” he commented. “We greatly appreciate the participation in this spring’s Take Back Day event, which will ultimately help keep drugs off the streets and out of the wrong hands.”
National Take Back Day was created by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and instituted to help prevent prescription drug abuse and theft, by allowing citizens to properly dispose of their unwanted medications.
The DEA’S Take Back Day focuses on the need to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. During their event held in October, the DEA collected nearly 500 tons of unwanted medications, a record-high number.
During its ten-year tenure the DEA has collected over 6,800 tons of prescription medications, helping to save lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported an increased overdose death rate during the current pandemic, with 83,544 overdoses from July 1, 2019 to July 1, 2020.
Studies have shown that the majority of abused medication is obtained through family and friends. Because prescription drug abuse continues to devastate the state’s communities, it is important for citizens and law enforcement to come together and work with local, state and federal leaders to end the epidemic.
If you need to clean out your medicine cabinet, but are worried you missed the event, don’t worry, there’s still an option to properly dispose of your medications.
“Anyone can come down to the courthouse and utilize the Drug Take Back Box here,” revealed Sheriff Austin.
The box is located next to the elevator on the first floor, next to the sheriff’s department. Austin urges any citizen wishing to get rid of their prescription medication to use the box.
“The box can be used to dispose of their pills only. Do not place needles or liquid medications in the box,” he voiced. “The Drug Take Back Box is strictly for pill forms of medication.”