Drug take-back breaks records

May 3, 2012 • Local News

Steve Wolfe and Richard Lucero with unused medications collected during Saturday’s Drug Take-Back program. Courtesy Photo

The Prescription Drug Take-Back program held at the Neighborhood Watch building broke records, Saturday, with 217 pounds [auth] of expired, unused and outdated drugs collected between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Crime Stoppers Board president Steve Wolfe and Neighborhood Watch adviser Richard Lucero, along with two law enforcement officers, were on hand to collect the prescription medications. This is the third of the drug take-back programs held in Roswell.

“In the previous two times that we participated, we took back 90 pounds in April 2011 and 108 pounds in October. This time we more than doubled the expired, unused, and unwanted drugs. We believe that the program will go again in October 2012,” said Wolfe.

Albuquerque had some 20 sites for collections. El Paso also participated. “We understand that they collected in excess of 1,500 pounds,” he said.

Once the drugs are collected and weighed, the Drug Enforcement Adminstration ensures they are safely destroyed. During the previous three events, the DEA registered some 500 tons of prescription drugs collected nationwide.

The purpose of the drug take-back program is to ensure that citizens have a safe way to get rid of unused medicines from their home medicine cabinets. Prescription medications are among the most often abused drugs in the United States, ranking higher than cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to a 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The study also indicated that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends.

Melody Petersen, author of Our Daily Meds noted that 100,000 Americans die each year from prescription drugs. Later statistics from the Academic Emergency Medicine released in 2011 indicated that prescription drugs kill some 200,000 Americans every year.

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