Greencastle and Putnam County residents will have another opportunity to help deter pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.
On Saturday, Oct. 29, the Greencastle Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will allow local residents to bring their medications for disposal to Greencastle High School at 910 E. Washington St. The service is free and anonymous.
A drive-through drop-off will be set up in the parking area nearest the GHS office entrance from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It will be established in the same area as the inaugural drug drop-off effort conducted last April.
GPD Chief Tom Sutherlin said the effort last spring resulted in 62 people disposing of 171 pounds of unwanted medications locally.
"It's no questions asked," Sutherlin said. "We don't ask your name. We don't take your license plate number."
The program is conducted at no cost to the city other than GPD officers' time, he said.
All drugs collected are boxed and turned over to the DEA for proper disposal.
That not only keeps them from getting into the wrong hands but also prevents them from winding up in the environment.
It is no longer safe or proper to dispose of prescription medications by flushing them down the toilet and even mixing them with coffee grounds and putting them in the trash, Sutherlin said.
Last April, Americans turned in 376,593 pounds -- 188 tons -- of prescription drugs at nearly 5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement partners.
This initiative addresses a public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to such drugs.
Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
Four days after the first Take-Back event in September 2010, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an "ultimate user" of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized to accept them. The Act also allows the attorney general to authorize long-term care facilities to dispose of their residents' controlled substances. The DEA has begun drafting regulations to implement the Act, a process that can take as long as 24 months.
Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like Greencastle Police Department and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.