COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - The effort to reduce prescription drug abuse should get a big boost this weekend because tomorrow in Branch County and across the country, it’s Take Back Saturday with the collection of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription pills for destruction. The Drug Enforcement Agency is helping to coordinate the program with the Branch County Sheriff’s Office along with police departments in Quincy, Bronson, and Union City as well as the Michigan State Police. The Take Back initiative runs from 10 am to 2 pm tomorrow at those law enforcement agencie and as you remove those items from your medicine cabinets to bring in, don’t forget they will accept only pills and not any I-V solutions, injectables or syringes. The collection is free and no questions will be asked. Seventy percent of people who abuse prescription pain relievers get them from friends or relatives.
The Branch County Take Back program has the goal of decreasing the abuse of prescription drugs by decreasing their availability. Prescription abuse has risen in the United States because of the availability and because people assume that doctor-prescribed medications are safe. 25% of drug related emergency room cases relate to prescription drug abuse. Prescription medication abuse most frequently include, pain killers, stimulants and tranquilizers. Those who share their prescription medications may be unaware of the potential for addiction and other health hazards that may occur.
Safe disposal of prescription drugs also reduces the damage to ground water and the environment that results from improper disposal. Flushing medications down the toilet or sink, can contaminate water resources, and can have a negative impact on fish and other aquatic species. Septic systems and public wastewater facilities are not designed to treat these products and eventually they can impact wells and community drinking water supplies. When not disposed of properly, unused and expired medications can cause poisoning in small children and pets through accidental ingestion.