Police, sheriff’s office will accept unused prescription meds Saturday


CULLMAN – The Cullman County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) and Cullman Police Department (CPD) are participating in "National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day" tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 28.

The program is sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to combat the abuse or misuse of potentially dangerous medicines that have expired or are no longer needed for those whom these controlled substances were prescribed. Law enforcement officers will be present at the CCSO and CPD to receive unused prescription drugs for safe and proper disposal.

According to CPD Lt. Gene Bates, “This is an opportunity for people to bring in old medication that they’re no longer going to need.  There’s no questions asked when they come, they don’t have to bring ID with them, they don’t have to explain where the medication came from, but this is an opportunity for them to bring it to the police department, and it will be disposed of properly.

“It’s not a good idea to flush medication down into the sewer system, or bury it in the backyard, or even to leave it in your house, because of the possibility of kids getting in contact with it and something happening other than the intended use of the medication.”

Medications may be turned in at:

CCSO: Sheriff’s Office, 1910 Beech Ave. SE, Cullman, 8 a.m. to 12 noon

CPD: Police headquarters, 601 Second Ave. NE, Cullman, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cullman County residents can bring their unused or expired medication to the CCSO Training Building, next door to the sheriff's office, or to the front entrance of CPD headquarters.  Officers at each location will receive the medications, no questions asked, box them up, and hand them over to the DEA for disposal.  If anyone is concerned about identity issues with prescription labels, pills may be placed in bags to be brought in.

Controlled, non-controlled, and over-the-counter medications will be accepted from individuals and long-term care facilities.  Injectable medications and syringes will not be accepted, due to safety risk for officers.  Illegal drugs will not be collected as part of this program.  Collections will not be accepted from pharmacies, physicians, hospitals and clinics; those entities should follow standard federal and state procedures for drug disposal.

"There are several very important reasons to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs, but the main reason is these medicines remain in the home and are highly susceptible to being misused, stolen and abused," said Sheriff Matt Gentry.

According to Bates, misuse of prescription medication ranks second behind only methamphetamine in illegal drug use in the Cullman area.

The aim of the take-back program is to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

According to the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, since the first Take-Back event in Alabama, in September of 2010, the program continues to increase in the amount of drugs collected.  DEA Prescription Drug Take-Back events last spring collected an estimated 6,287 pounds in Alabama of unwanted, expired or unused drugs for proper disposal.  Throughout all of Alabama’s previous DEA Prescription Drug Take-Back events, a total of about 53,712 pounds of unwanted, unused or expired drugs have been removed and disposed of safely.

“Prescription Drug Take-Back is a valuable public service that protects our children, our homes and our environment,” said Attorney Gen. Steve Marshall. “As a prosecutor for 16 years, I have too often witnessed the tragic results caused by the availability of dangerous controlled substances.  When prescription drugs are left in our homes, children and teenagers may be poisoned or fall prey to drug abuse and addiction. Your old medications can be a lure to criminals looking for drugs to use or sell.  On Saturday, Oct. 28, please take the opportunity to remove these hazards by bringing prescription drugs that are out-of-date or no longer needed to collection sites for their safe and proper disposal.”

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