Dover Police and DEA officials will host a drug take back program Saturday, April 26.
Having outdated or unneeded medications around the home can be dangerous, and it’s also unhealthy for the environment to get rid of them by flushing them into sewers or throwing them into the trash.
In Dover, city police will team up with agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration for the eighth national Take Back Initiative, to be held Saturday at the Dover Police Department headquarters at 400 S. Queen St.
The program will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will be held at five additional locales in Kent County.
The service only will take unneeded prescription pills; liquid medicines and syringes will not be accepted.
“Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in this country,” said Rusty Payne, spokesman for DEA. “Addiction rates have soared and overdose rates have soared.”
People who are addicted to prescription drugs often find a ready source in the homes of friends and family members, Payne said, particularly if there are large numbers of pills on hand that are no longer needed.
With that in mind, the DEA set up the Take Back Day program, modeling it on a very successful program inaugurated in the state of New Jersey, Payne said.
Following that model, anyone with unused or expired medicines can bring them in for disposal, Payne said. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked; for those concerned about identity theft, pills may be brought in using plastic or paper bags, he said.
“We’re not interested in your name or who you are,” he said. “We’re just interested in providing a service.”
Since the DEA’s first Take Back Initiative in September 2010, Americans have returned more than 1,700 tons, or 3.4 million pounds, of pills, according to the DEA’s website.
More people abuse prescription drugs than the numbers who abuse cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants combined.
More than 22,000 Americans died of prescription drug overdoses in 2010, the site reported.
Old or forgotten pills and other drugs can cause poisonings and accidental overdoses, sometimes resulting in emergency trips to the hospital, extended hospital stays or even death.
In one instance during a 2010 event, a woman disposed of pills she had obtained as far back as 1969, Payne said.
“This is important,” he said. “We just don’t want people holding on to old medications.
For more information, or to find disposal sites not in Kent County, visit dea.gov.