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Countywide ‘Take Back’ drug day

To raise awareness and help combat the abuse of prescription drugs, Delaware County is holding a “Take Back” drug event from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at 11 drop-off locations throughout the county. The program is free and anonymous. The county “Take Back” event is organized by the Delaware County District Attorney, County Council and the County Office of Behavioral Health, the County Department of Intercommunity Health, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and local police departments.Residents are urged to clean out their medicine cabinet and safely dispose of unused or expired medications at the “Take Back” event.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is a “growing, deadly epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse.”This year, the Take Back Drug event is being organized in partnership with the Delaware County Heroin Task Force, formed in 2012 to combat the growing epidemic of heroin use. Abuse of prescription painkillers often leads to heroin use. District Attorney Jack Whelan was joined by County Councilwoman Colleen Morrone in detailing the devastating impact of prescription drug abuse on county residents. “The deadly abuse of painkillers and prescription drugs has reached epidemic levels and a crucial step in tackling this problem is to raise awareness among parents, youth and healthcare providers,” District Attorney Whelan said. “The ‘Take Back’ event is one way we can alert people about the misuse of prescription drugs they have in their homes, in their medicine cabinets. You don’t want to lock the liquor cabinet but leave the medicine cabinet wide open.”

Whelan said everyone has a role to play in combating drug misuse including pharmacists, physicians and dentists.The April 27 “Take Back” event is part of a nationwide campaign that aims to collect potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs and properly dispose of them.  “The ‘Take Back’ initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” District Attorney Whelan said. “Many people are not aware that medicines that sit in home cabinets are at a high risk for misuse and abuse. And their misuse can be deadly.”

Experts warn that parents may not notice that their teenagers, family members or visitors may be sneaking pills out of outdated prescription bottles. In one case, a teenage girl, worried about her weight, started sneaking her brother’s prescription medication, Adderall, prescribed for ADHD, hoping it would suppress her appetite. People can reduce the risk by reducing the medicine cabinet to only current, unexpired medications, over-the-counter or otherwise. They can also keep medications in locked containers. Whelan said many residents do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away, both potential safety and health hazards.

The prescription drugs collected at the event will be burned at an undisclosed location by DEA officials. People can also ask their physician or pharmacist how to dispose of unused prescription medications.The Delaware County Office of Behavioral Health contracts with Holcomb Behavioral Systems to offer drug prevention and education programs.

For information about the prevention of drug abuse, people can call Holcomb Behavioral Health Systems at 484-444-0412 or visit the website at www.holcombprevention.org. Residents concerned about a loved one’s misuse of prescription medication or other substance abuse can contact Holcomb.For more information about the nationwide “Take Back” event visit www.dea.gov. Click on the “Got Drugs?” icon, follow the links to the database, and enter a zip code to find the nearest drop-off location.

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