Drug Take Back Day Aimed at Curbing Abuse of Prescription Medication

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By Brittany Bivins

Saturday was Prescription Drug Take Back Day across the country. Locally, police and drug enforcement agency officials spent the day collecting unused and expired medications from people all around Alabama. It's part of an effort to cut down on prescription drugs, by getting potentially hazardous medicines off the streets.

By noon, the Drug Drop Zone at Eastdale Mall had filled three boxes of medications from people looking to dispose of them the safe way. "We had a really, a cupboard full of medicines and so we called some neighbors and told them what we were doing and they gathered theirs up and we made kind of a neighborhood effort out of it," said Don Graham, who was dropping off several bags of unused medications.

Since the Take Back Day started in 2010, the DEA has collected more than 770 tons of prescription meds.Officials say it's the best way to keep them from slipping into the wrong hands."One in 6 teenagers first starts addicted behavior by finding it in the medicine cabinet of their parents or a neighbor," said Marshall Simons, DEA Resident Agent in Charge for Montgomery.

He says that's because a lot of people don't know what to do with their extra medicines, when they no longer need them. "They don't want to flush them down the toilet because they're hearing that message about hey, this effects the environment, and I think that people are much more conscious these days," he said.

That includes people like Glenda Hale, who cleaned our her medicine cabinet for today. "I feel better doing this than putting it in the trash or letting it go in the sewer system, so think it's a great opportunity," she said.

DEA officials didn't have the final totals for today's Take Back Day, but they say since the program started in 2010, they've taken in more than 1.5 million pounds of discarded medications.