Valdosta, Georgia - May 3, 2011
The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office says 51 pounds of prescription drugs were dropped off at three area drop-off sites Saturday.
They say all pills collected by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will be incinerated.
Local college students say prescription drug abuse is climbing.
"Sometimes they have stuff in bowls," says Glenn Reed, a sophomore at Valdosta State University. "You can ask where this at, they'll tell you. Um, it's easy."
Sophomore Elizabeth Rugen agrees, "Some students will be able to give it to you and some students will be able to get your doctor to prescribe them."
But on Saturday, anyone with unused and unwanted prescription drugs can drop them off at sites across the country.
It's Lowndes County's first time hosting a Drug Take-Back Program.
"It is quite the item," says Sgt. Jim Griffin, with the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office. "It is on the rise and that is the abuse of prescription drugs."
Griffin says it's an opportunity for citizens to anonymously drop off any potentially dangerous pills.
"Not only are we helping people to rid their medicine cabinets and those unused drugs from the house, but we're also helping them to protect our environment," says Griffin, about preventing medications from getting flushed down toilets and disposed of in other improper ways.
Last year, the DEA collected 121 tons of prescription drugs in America. And Saturday you can drop of yours at both Walmart and Lowes in Valdosta from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
There will also be pickup sites at Crum's Mini mall in Panacea, the Wal-Mart in Crawfordville and the Kangaroo store in Wakulla Station.
In an effort to help fight prescription drug abuse, the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office will participate in the second National Drug Take-Back Day Saturday, April 30, according to Sheriff David Harvey.
"We want to work hand-in-hand with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to do something about prescription drug abuse," said the sheriff. "On Saturday, April 30, we can all do something about it."
The sheriff and DEA are urging the public to clean out medicine cabinets of leftover prescription drugs and deliver them to the sheriff's office, 15 Oak Street in Crawfordville, for collection and disposal.
Additional collection sites around Wakulla County are anticipated.
Look for the red, white and blue DEA posters.
There will be a deputy and collection box in the WCSO lobby on April 30 so residents can dispose of their unwanted drugs properly.
Sheriff Harvey said removing unwanted drugs from the community serves two purposes: it reduces the danger of the drugs getting back onto the streets while reducing future crimes and allows the drugs to be disposed of properly while reducing the threat to the groundwater the environment.
The collection will take place at the WCSO lobby from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Federal officials estimate that more than seven million people are abusing prescription drugs and the numbers continue to increase each year.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) offers a few guidelines for disposing of prescription and over-the-counter medicines:
· Do not give drugs to anyone else.
· Do not flush drugs down the toilet.
· Do not put drugs in the trash without disguising them. Human or animal scavengers may find them and misuse them.
· Flushing medications down the toilet can cause contamination to
Florida's aquatic environment because waste water treatment systems are not designed to remove many of these medications.
For more information, call 800-882-9539 or visit www.dea.gov.