The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office will once again participate in the DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen said anyone with any unwanted medications or pills can bring them by the Jackson County Courthouse, on the south side, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

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.

“It’s a good way to get rid of expired or unused medication,” said Harnen. “We will safely dispose of it.”

“It’s a very good thing in keeping medications off the street to be used illegally,” added Sheriff Chuck Phillips. “It also keeps them out of the environment.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the United States, more than 106,000 people died as the result of a drug overdose in the 12-month period ending November 2021, marking the most drug-related deaths ever recorded, with opioid-related deaths accounting for 75 percent of all overdose deaths.

Phillips encouraged anyone with unwanted drugs to bring them by the courthouse Saturday.

Deliveries of drugs to the courthouse are confidential, with no personal information collected and no questions asked. Participants are encouraged to remove labels or black out information beforehand.

Phillips said prescription drugs pose dangers to children and others who may take them by accident or who may use them for abusive purposes. Expired drugs may have lost their effectiveness and therefore no longer be a safe and adequate treatment for the conditions for which they were prescribed.

Since the first Take Back event in Alabama, in September 2010, the amount of drugs collected continues to increase. Throughout all of Alabama’s previous DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back events, a total of about 96,317 pounds of unwanted, unused or expired drugs have been removed and disposed of safely.

“For many years, Prescription Drug Take Back has served a valuable public service to protect our children, homes and environment, and now it is more vital than ever,” said Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall. “We have seen a troubling rise in drug overdoses, a situation that has been worsened this past year during the COVID-19 pandemic with people isolated and suffering from anxiety and with substance abuse subsequently on the rise.”

Deliveries of drugs to the courthouse are confidential, with no personal information collected and no questions asked. Participants are encouraged to remove labels or black out information beforehand.

In addition to concerns of potential poisoning, abuse or overdose, it also is important environmentally that medicines be disposed of in a proper manner rather than simply being thrown into garbage, flushed away or poured down drains, as they could contaminate water supplies and cause an environmental hazard.

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