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Police to collect unwanted, unused prescription drugs

POSTED September 26, 2012 7:45 a.m.
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Much attention is paid to illegal drugs, such as crack cocaine, meth, PCP, bath salts, and others for their destructive qualities. Even over-the-counter drugs, when abused, pose serious health threats. Not as much is said about prescription drugs, for which their use and abuse is probably more widespread than all other illegal drugs combined.

In addition to the problem of prescription drug abuse and misuse, there is the issue of how to safely dispose of leftover and unused medications. It is very common for people to store a plethora of prescription drugs in their medicine cabinets, which leave them subject to burglaries committed by drug addicts and others wishing to sell them on the streets. Cough syrup with codeine is a favorite of people to keep in case they get sick again, but it becomes a temptation for kids in the household who are looking for a quick doping session. And this problem is not only limited to stimulants, depressants or other mood altering substances, but to antibiotics as well. Unused drugs stored in the medicine cabinet often find their way in to the hands of persons they were not intended for, leading to innumerable accidental poisonings and overdoses and other problems.

In 2010, Congress passed the "Secure and Responsible Disposal Act" as a measure to reduce the adverse impact prescription drugs is having on the U.S. population. The two major goals are to keep leftover prescription drugs from being abused or falling into the wrong hands, and to properly and safely dispose of them. Specifically, it is very bad for the environment to flush them down the toilet. Throwing them into the garbage is also problematic because they still end up in the environment.

The government is working on a plan to make for safer and easier disposal of prescription drugs, but in the interim, local law enforcement agencies will be able to hold "prescription drug take-backs" every few months. Ceres Police Department will be providing that service this week, on Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of the Ceres Community Center, 2701 Fourth St. The drugs collected will be transported to an incendiary oven, which completely burns the product and properly filters the exhaust to eliminate any pollution to our atmosphere. This event will allow participants to bring in their prescription drug discards without any documentation and there will be no questions asked. No illegal drugs will be accepted: this event is solely for prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications that residents wish to dispose of.

Regarding the adverse impact prescription drugs have on the environment, it is well known that sewage processing plants cannot adequately remove drugs or their residuals entirely from the water that is subsequently discharged into the rivers and oceans. And this is why animals in the wild are showing high levels of drug-related contaminates. Moreover, these contaminates often end up in our systems, causing a host of different diseases. In short, it is absolutely unwise to contaminate our environment and risk harming our children, the wildlife and our pets.

Prescription drugs have an important role in the treatment of human and domestic animal healthcare, but they must be handled with care. Accordingly, the Ceres Police Department, with the support of the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency, is providing this drug disposal opportunity for all of our residents. Again, there will be no questions asked when dropping off old medications.
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