From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, the Grass Valley Police, the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County and the Drug Enforcement Administration gave the public its sixth opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.
People could bring medications for disposal to downtown Grass Valley at the corner of South Auburn and Neal streets with no questions asked.
According to Community Recovery Resources Development Associate Shelley Rogers, the day was extremely successful.
“Nevada County responded well to the call to action to help keep our kids and our water drug-free by safely disposing of prescription medications,” she said.
“More than 300 pounds of prescription medications were turned in Saturday — significantly more than what was turned in at the last take-back day in the fall.”
Last September, Americans turned in 244 tons of prescription drugs at more than 5,200 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners.
In its five previous Take Back events, the DEA and its partners took in more than 2 million pounds — more than a thousand tons — of pills.
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 — pose potential safety and health hazards.
In addition to the Take Back Days, three local pharmacies now host permanent drop boxes that are open daily — Kmart, Rite Aid and Save Mart — in addition to the one in the lobby of the Grass Valley Police Department.
The Coalition and the Grass Valley Police Department have been participating in the National Take-Back Day program since 2009.
This program not only addresses crucial public safety and public health issues, but it also serves as an educational opportunity to broaden awareness of the local permanent safe disposal sites.
For more information, go to DrugFreeNevadaCounty.org.