Wanted: Expired and unused prescription drugs that are taking up space in medicine cabinets, household shelves and kitchen drawers.
Some area law enforcement agencies are collecting the drugs today as part of a national effort to take unused prescription drugs out of circulation to prevent drug abuse and to reduce access by children. The seventh National Prescription Drug Take Back Day hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., organizers said.
Authorities report that prescription drug abuse among children and youths is a more widespread problem than generally realized and is increasing, U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian in Albany said in a media release. He urged parents, grandparents, teachers, nurses and communities to help stop the abuse of prescription drugs among young people.
“We must do all we can to monitor the prescription drugs that are in our possession, discard unused medications properly and talk with young people about the very real dangers of prescription drug abuse,” Hartunian said in a prepared statement promoting the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s take-back program.
Lt. Douglas Brenner of the Oneonta Police Department said Friday that the prescription drugs are taken “no questions asked” and put into a box, which later will be picked up by the DEA for disposal. The program gives residents, including senior citizens, an opportunity to clear out unused or expired drugs and eliminate worries about unauthorized access, he said.
“It’s a very good program,” Brenner said.
The Otsego County Sheriff’s Office also is collecting unwanted prescription drugs, no questions asked, a media release said. In April, the Sheriff’s Office collected more than 20 pounds of unused prescription drugs.
The free collection program provides a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposal, while also educating the public about the risks of prescription drug abuse, deputies said.