Sparta Police Department is partnering with Walgreens to give area residents the opportunity to safely dispose of unused prescription medications during this spring’s National Drug Take Back Day.
“I will be set up at Walgreens in Sparta from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., on April 24,” Sparta Police Chief Doug Goff said, and further stated he is eager to participate in the 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses what they deem as a crucial public safety and public health issue. They state a survey indicated that 9.7 million people across the United States misused prescription pain relievers, in 2019. Their survey also found that 4.9 million people misused prescription stimulants, while 5.9 million people misused prescription sedatives. The DEA’s claim is the majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends and were often taken from home medicine cabinets, rather than being freely given to them.
“This free program gives folks an opportunity to rid themselves of outdated prescription pills,” Goff commented and agreed with the DEA’s statement that the event provides an opportunity for Americans to help prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. “Also, if there has been a death in the family and there are medications left behind to deal with, this is a good time to clear them out.”
The most recent National Prescription Drug Take Back Day was held in October 2020. Sparta was one of 4,587 sites nationwide. During the October 2020 event, 985,392 pounds, or 492.7 tons, of unused and outdated medications were collected by the 4,135 law enforcement agencies participated around the country.
“Too often, unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands. That’s dangerous and often tragic,” the DEA’s released statement about the fall 2020 event read. “That’s why it was great to see thousands of folks from across the country clean out their medicine cabinets and turn in - safely and anonymously - a record amount of prescription drugs.”
As far as the upcoming event on April 24, Goff said there will be no questions asked of anyone who stops by to dispose of unused prescriptions. He said his department strives to make the event as convenient as possible and that White County citizens, or even those from surrounding counties, are encouraged to just drive by Walgreens, on the corner of Bockman Way and Mayberry Street, and drop off their, or family members’, unused medications. There is no need to even get out of their vehicle.
“This effort could also potentially keep these drugs from ending up in the wrong hands, such as children or thieves,” Goff reminded those who are unsure of whether they should participate. “We appreciate the community for their assistance in this effort.”