Record numbers of medications disposed

By Frank Lewis

October 26, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says residents in southern Ohio disposed of more than 8,600 pounds of unwanted prescription drugs by using drop boxes provided by the Attorney General’s Office, Ohio Department of Health, and Drug Free Action Alliance.

“By disposing of these prescription drugs in a safe and secure way, it removes the chance of them potentially getting into the hands of children or those struggling with addiction,” DeWine said. “I encourage Ohioans who want to get rid of old prescription drugs to use one of the drop boxes or take advantage of the many locations during the DEA’s annual Drug Take-Back events.”

In October 2012, DeWine announced that more than 60 southern Ohio law enforcement agencies would be awarded the prescription drug drop boxes to help fight prescription drug abuse in their communities. The secure mailbox-style disposal boxes are available to residents on a daily basis. Among those locations are the Portsmouth Police Department, located at 728 Second St. in the Portsmouth City building, the New Boston Police Department, 3978 Rhodes Avenue, New Boston, the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office at 1025 16th St., in Portsmouth and the Shawnee State University Department of Public Safety, 940 Second St. in Portsmouth.

DeWine took the opportunity Wednesday to come to Portsmouth to kick off his Attorney General’s Drug Abuse Community Forum series. DeWine was complimentary of local efforts to fight the drug epidemic in Scioto County, calling this community “the epicenter” of the drug epidemic problem.

“It appears that Scioto County could be entering into a period of recovery, but we want to continue to work with the community to identify drug trends and keep their overdose death rate on the decline,” DeWine said.

The DEA and law enforcement agencies all across the country will hold a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day today.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., prescription drug collection sites will be set up across the country to collect unwanted and unneeded prescription drugs. The initiative includes more than 200 locations in Ohio.

Dewine said the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposal, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of these medications.

“Seven of the 10 most commonly abused drugs by teenagers are prescription medications,” DEA Columbus Group Supervisor Mark McHugh said. “Parents who once child-proofed their house must now teen-proof them by locking their medicine cabinets and disposing of their unwanted prescriptions.”

According to the DEA, the non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in America. The majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs get them from family, friends, and their home medicine cabinets.

“In the last decade, prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions in parts of Ohio. It has devastated the lives and livelihoods of individual Ohioans and taken a dangerous toll on American families and communities,” U.S. Senator Rob Portman said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but with continued federal, state, and local efforts to combat this epidemic, I have no doubt we will continue to make great strides in the fight against prescription drug abuse.”

A list of collection sites participating in Saturday’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day can be found on the DEA’s website.

A list of prescription drug drop boxes provided by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Ohio Department of Health, and Drug Free Action Alliance can be found on the Attorney General’s website.

Greenup County Health Department, in conjunction with Kentucky State Police, will host a Prescription Drug Take Back today on the parking lot of the Health Department in Greenup.

Cassie Mace, a Health Educator for the Greenup County Health Department, said she is looking forward to the upcoming event. “This is our first attempt at this and we are glad to be working with the Kentucky State Police on this effort. The drugs can be prescription, or non-prescription,” Mace said.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.