MADISON — U.S. Congressman Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) visited the Boone County Drug Take-Back Day at the Boone County Courthouse in Madison on Saturday.
Saturday was National Prescription “Drug Take Back Day,” which encourages Americans to clean out their medicine cabinets and dispose of medications properly.
“Flushing medications can damage sewage and water treatment systems, while keeping unneeded prescriptions can pose the risk of prescription drug abuse,” Jenkins said.
Uniformed Boone County Deputy Sheriff’s were manning the collections sites. Deputies did take prescription medication. The only items not accepted was needles. Drop-off points accepted medications anonymously with no questions asked.
“I am dropping off medicine that was my father’s before he passed away,” Jenkins said. “I had it locked in a safe until I could dispose of them properly at the Drug Take Back Day here in Madison.”
Prescription drug abuse remains a significant problem in West Virginia and the nation. A recent report found that the Mountain State has the highest drug overdose death rate in the nation. At about 34 overdose deaths per 100,000 people, it is more than double the national average.
“We are pleased to join this national effort to help rid our state and communities of unwanted prescriptions and unused over-the-counter medication,” said West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. “Safely disposing of unwanted medication is an important way that we can keep these drugs off our streets and out of the wrong hands. Even if the medicine is not one that typically is ‘abused,’ it is critical that pills, liquid and other forms of prescriptions are disposed of properly.”
The Boone County Courthouse was one of more than 120 collection locations in the state. There was also a drop off location at John Slack Park in Racine on Saturday.
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration spearheads the Drug Take Back Day, which was initially launched in 2010. During the event, local and state law enforcement agencies collect unused medication and responsibly dispose of it. The DEA typically hosts two prescription drug take-back days per year: one in the spring and one in the fall.
“We need citizens to look through their medicine cabinets and clean out any unused, unwanted or expired medications,” Jenkins said. “Medicine that is thrown into the trash can be found by people looking to abuse drugs and flushing it down the toilet can harm the environment. This is the best way to dispose on unwanted, unused and expired prescriptions and keep them out of the hand of those who would abuse them.”
According to the 2013 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), about 4.5 million Americans aged 12 and older classify themselves as being “current non-medical users of pain relievers.” That same study revealed more than 63 percent of people abusing prescription pain relievers obtained them through friends or relatives, a statistic that includes raiding the family medicine cabinet.
“It will take a true community effort to end our drug epidemic,” Morrisey added. “This event is just one way we can help fight against prescription drug abuse in our state.”
“Prescription drug abuse continues to devastate communities in our state and across this nation and we must work with our local, state and federal leaders and our law enforcement to end this epidemic,” U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said. “Drug Take-Back Days have been tremendously successful in West Virginia and serve as an opportunity to bring neighbors and families together in the fight against drug abuse. These events raise awareness about the dangers of drug abuse and help individuals protect their loved ones by offering the opportunity to safely dispose of medications, including those that could be abused. Drug Take-Back Day is a simple and common sense initiative we can all rally around to combat drug abuse so that West Virginia and our beautiful country can have strong, drug-free communities.”
“Ensuring the safe and proper disposal of unwanted medications is critical to combating the drug epidemic that is harming West Virginia’s communities,” said U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). “Too often prescription drug abuse starts at home, which is why it is essential to use this opportunity to clean out your medicine cabinets. I hope all West Virginians will participate in this Saturday’s Prescription Drug Take-Back Day and help elevate the conversation about this alarming crisis.”