Pre­scrip­tion medicine col­lec­tion set for Satur­day

Newark Post - - LOCAL NEWS - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­pub.com

Lo­cal, state and fed­eral of­fi­cials are team­ing up this week­end in an at­tempt to keep left­over pre­scrip­tion drugs from fall­ing into the wrong hands.

Satur­day marks one of two drug take-back days spon­sored each year by the Drug En­force­ment Agency and lo­cal po­lice de­part­ments and health de­part­ments. The pro­gram al­lows peo­ple to dis­pose of medicine for free, with no ques­tions asked.

Dozens of drop-off lo­ca­tions in Delaware will be open be­tween 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Satur­day. Lo­ca­tions in the Ne­wark area in­clude:

• Ne­wark Po­lice De­part­ment, 220 S. Main St.

• Univer­sity of Delaware – Lau­rel Hall, 282 The Green

• Chris­tiana Care Sur­gi­cal Cen­ter, 4755 Ogle­town Stan­ton Road

• Delaware State Po­lice Troop 2, 100 La Grange Ave.

• Wal­greens, 1120 Pu­laski High­way

Both the Ne­wark Po­lice De­part­ment and Wal­greens have per­ma­nent drop-off boxes that are ac­ces­si­ble dur­ing nor­mal busi­ness hours.

Of­fi­cials say dis­pos­ing medicine cor­rectly is im­por­tant be­cause it pre­vents it from pol­lut­ing wa­ter – as can hap­pen if medicine is flushed down the toi­let – or fall­ing into the hands of ad­dicts.

“We must view ad­dic­tion as the chronic dis­ease it is. We can all im­prove the safety of our homes and com­mu­ni­ties by prop­erly dis­pos­ing of un­used medicines,” Delaware De­part­ment of Health and So­cial Ser­vices Sec­re­tary Dr. Kara Odom Walker said in a state­ment. “Na­tional stud­ies show that al­most two-thirds of peo­ple who mis­use pre­scrip­tion drugs get them from friends and fam­ily, in­clud­ing by raid­ing medicine cab­i­nets, purses and draw­ers.”

In 2016, 308 peo­ple died in Delaware from drug over­doses com­pared to 228 in 2015 and 222 in 2014. Up to 80 per­cent of Delaware’s drug over­doses in­volve one or more pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tions, ac­cord­ing to DHSS.

“We know that pre­scrip­tion drugs are of­ten a gate­way to il­le­gal drugs,” Delaware At­tor­ney Gen­eral Matt Denn said in a state­ment. “En­sur­ing that pre­scrip­tion drugs do not end up in the wrong hands is there­fore an im­por­tant part of our ef­fort to ad­dress Delaware’s opi­oid epi­demic. Preven­tion, treat­ment and law en­force­ment are all crit­i­cal parts of this fight.”

Last year, Ne­wark col­lected more than 1,800 pounds of medicine for de­struc­tion dur­ing events in the spring and fall.

“Re­mov­ing un­wanted pre­scrip­tion drugs from our com­mu­nity is an im­por­tant pub­lic safety mea­sure and we’re com­mit­ted to help­ing the DEA in this en­deavor,” Ne­wark Po­lice Chief Paul Tier­nan said in a state­ment. “The amount of med­i­ca­tion we are able to col­lect un­der­scores the value of par­tic­i­pat­ing in th­ese events.”

Drugs for dis­posal must be in a con­tainer such as a pill bot­tle, box, blis­ter pack or zipped plas­tic bag, with per­sonal in­for­ma­tion re­moved. Liq­uid med­i­ca­tions must be in their orig­i­nal con­tain­ers. Nee­dles, aerosols, bio­haz­ard ma­te­ri­als, med­i­cal equip­ment and bat­ter­ies will not be ac­cepted.

NE­WARK POST PHOTO BY KARIE SIM­MONS

The drug col­lec­tion box in the lobby of the Ne­wark Po­lice De­part­ment is avail­able for any­one to drop of pre­scrip­tions, pre­scrip­tion patches, med­i­ca­tions, oint­ments, vi­ta­mins, sam­ples and pet med­i­ca­tion.

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