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Residents asked to discard unwanted prescription pills

Photo by Shawn Wheat

Photo by Shawn Wheat

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Sheriff's Office is on a mission to "Take Back" unwanted prescription drugs.

The NCSO, along with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, is asking citizens to discard unwanted prescription drugs at a location inside Covington's Walmart Supercenter on Industrial Boulevard on Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The "Take Back" program seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft by collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction.

The abuse of prescription drugs has risen sharply in recent years and, according to the president's Office of National Drug Control Policy, the problem is second only to marijuana among teens and young adults. The DEA estimates more than seven million Americans abuse prescription drugs.

"Each day approximately 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time, according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America," a press release concerning the DEA's "Take Back" campaign stated. "Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet."

Of primary concern are medications used as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives in the following categories:

* opioids such as codeine, oxycodone, and morphine;

* central nervous system (CNS) depressants such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines;

* stimulants such as dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate

Those wishing to dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs will find specially marked stations manned by Sheriff's Office personnel where they can drop off the medications.

"The service is free and anonymous to all citizens in Newton County and surrounding areas with no questions asked," said Sheriff Ezell Brown.

This is the second year the Sheriff's Office has participated in the campaign. The DEA said during last year's campaign, more than 121 tons of pills were turned in nationwide.

Brown warned of the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

"Many people do not realize the tragic impact that prescription drugs (when abused) have on our society," he said. "When law enforcement and the community we protect work together, it makes the quality of life better for us all."