By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama’s Attorney General announced that National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day will be held on April 28th. At a Press Conference Wednesday Attorney General Luther Strange with U.S. Attorney George Beck for the Middle District of Alabama, U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance for the Northern District, U.S. Attorney Kenyen Brown for the Southern District, and State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson announced that on April 28th the state of Alabama will have collection points for citizens to drop off their unused and expired prescription drugs for disposal.
Attorney General Luther Strange said that prescription drugs are a huge problem in our state. Strange said that none of us want to see drugs fall into the hands of youth or people who abuse them; but that much of the “illegal” drugs that is being trafficked and abused in Alabama was originally legal prescription drugs that have fallen into the hands of youth or people who were tempted by the presence of the medications. Vicodin, OxyContin, Ritalin, Adderall, etc. are all common drugs found in many people’s medicine cabinets that teens and other persons may find and abuse.
According to the press release, “this is the fourth National Prescription Drug Take-Back, a program 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 by those for whom these controlled substances were prescribed.”
Alabama Department of Public Health says that prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, report that in 2008, more people died from overdoses of prescription drugs than died from cocaine, heroine, metamphetamines, LSD, crack, and all the illegal drugs. Alabama has one of highest rates of prescription painkillers sold per 10,000 people in the nation.
AG Strange said, “We hope that many law enforcement agencies will join us in being proactive to organize collection programs within their local communities.” “This is an important and basic step to fight drug abuse and drug-related crimes, by assisting in the removal of potentially dangerous controlled substances from our homes. Many of us have out-dated prescriptions that are too easily accessible to children and others. These drugs can also be the target of home invasions and burglaries. On April 28, we are asking the people of Alabama to protect their homes and communities by locating medicines that are out of date or no longer needed, and bringing them in for safe and proper disposal.”
U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance said, “Abuse of prescription drugs is epidemic in the United States and everyone in the community – law enforcement, parents, teachers, physicians, pharmacists – needs to recognize the scope of this problem and work together to combat it. Participating in the Prescription Drug Take-Back this month will help in several ways. It will draw attention to the widespread problem of prescription drug abuse; provide a safe way to get unused and out-of-date controlled substances out of our homes; and ensure that the drugs will be disposed in an environmentally safe manner.”
State Health Officer Dr. Williamson said that medications expire and lose their effectiveness. Dr. Williamson warned that disposing of medications in landfills or pouring them down the sink could in some instances contaminate water and cause an environmental hazard.
Alabamians are strongly encouraged to turn in old prescription drugs at drop-off points throughout the state on Saturday, April 28. To see a list of collection sites visit the DEA website, www.dea.gov, or contact your local police departments and sheriff’s offices. You can phone the DEA toll-free by calling 1-800-882-9539.
To read the press release in its entirety: