HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – The United Way of the River Cities’ Prevention Empowerment Partnership (PEP) initiative is hosting a National Drug Take-Back Day event this weekend.
The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 24 at the Walgreens on 4th avenue and at the Drug Emporium at the mall. PEP is partnering with the Huntington Police Department, the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department and the Marshall University School of Pharmacy for the event. PEP officials say the service is free and anonymous and that no questions will be asked.
According to the organization, National Drug Take-Back Day allows people to get rid of medications in their homes that are expired, unused and unwanted to prevent medication abuse and theft. The sites, however, cannot accept personal care items, liquid injectables, needles or sharps, thermometers and other mercury items, hydrogen peroxide or inhalers or illegal drugs. PEP says people can bring in vaping items but are asked to remove batteries from the devices.
The organization says the initiative is designed to address the public health and safety issue of medicines in the cabinet that can be susceptible to misuse or theft. PEP says the rate of prescription drug abuse in the U.S., as well as the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses from these drugs, is “alarmingly high.”
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, year-after-year data showed the majority of misused and abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, including instances when the medication was stolen from someone else’s home.
Another reason for the event is officials say the “usual methods” of disposing of unused medications, such as flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, pose safety and health hazards. PEP will also be distributing Deterra bags as a way to safely dispose of medication at home in between Drug Take-back days.
Officials say Americans turned in 493 tons, or 985,392 pounds, of prescription drugs across 4,587 sites operated by the DEA and 4,153 of its state and local law enforcement partners. In all of its 19 previous Take-Back events, the program has taken in a combined total of nearly 14 million pounds of pills.
For more information on disposing of prescription drugs or the upcoming Take-Back Day event, go to www.DEATakeBack.com or call 304-552-3528.