The Gordon County Drugs Don’t Work Committee hosted a Lunch and Learn session yesterday to educate the public about this year’s event scheduled in April.
National Drug Take Back Event:
According to Mashburn, the take back initiative, scheduled for April 21, is a national event to provide anyone the opportunity to dispose of medication, no questions asked and no identification required
“We are registered through the state department DEA, through our Calhoun City Police Department and the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office, and in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce we are promoting this big day of drug take back,” said Mashburn.
Locations for drop-offs were chosen for convenience and easy access to the street, according to Calhoun City Police Chief Garry Moss.
There will be five locations throughout Gordon County and the city of Calhoun where drug drop-offs will be available: In the city of Calhoun at The Home Depot, and at 328 W. Line Street (corner of Line street and River street near the armory) across the street from high Tech Fuels.
In Gordon County there will be drop-offs at the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office, Sonoraville Recreation Complex and the Plainville Recreation Department.
“What happens is they can drive up, toss in their unwanted prescription or over the counter drugs, no questions asked, ‘thank you very much’ and drive off,” said Mashburn. “They (drugs) get properly destroyed by the state so that it is not hazardous to our environment, which is wonderful.”
According to Calhoun City Police Chief Garry Moss, at each drop off location, on April 21, there will be members of the Drugs Don’t Work Committee as well as a law enforcement officer for the protection of the committee members. There is guaranteed anonymity when dropping pills off.
“There will be people from the Drugs Don’t Work Committee and a law enforcement officer at each place for security. We have a lot of people addicted to prescription drugs and don’t want committee members getting hurt,” said Moss. “We guarantee names will not be taken, even if they bring illegal drugs, there will be no questions asked and no names taken,” said Moss.
At the conclusion of the April 21 event, the drugs will be secured at the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office until members from the Atlanta DEA collect them for proper disposal.
“They (the drugs) will be treated in the same fashion as evidence during the course of an investigation,” said Gordon County Chief Deputy Sheriff Robert Paris.
According to Moss, the pills will be weighed before being secured and weighed again when handed over to the DEA to ensure proper security.
According to Sheriff Mitch Ralston, the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office stands behind the committee’s drug take back event.
“There is a problem nationwide with prescription drug abuse,” said Ralston.
The Calhoun City Police Department also supports the group’s initiative. “We support it and appreciate the people turning them in. People have a habit of having left over drugs and just dumping them, well that’s going into someone’s water supply. If you take them to the landfill soil eventually absorbs them and it gets into wells. The city gets a lot of water from some of the wells, and if people throw them in the soil, they will be absorbed into the water table,” said Moss.
According to a press release by the DEA, this is the third year of the National Drug Take Back Day, which has safely disposed of more than 300,000 pounds of unwanted medication.
“Americans participating in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s third National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Oct. 29 (2011) turned in more than 377,086 pounds (188.5 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal,” said the release.
According to Mashburn, the goal is not only to protect the environment by educating people on proper disposal of unused pills, but =also keep families and residents of Gordon County safe.
“Mainly, we are trying to educate the public on the hazards of having unused, unwanted and out of date prescriptions in their home,” said Mashburn. “It is a hazard for things like accidental overdose or mixing medications you aren’t supposed to. The problem we have with prescription drug abuse is we don’t want our children being able to go in our homes and get in our medicine cabinets.”
She is also concerned about drug abuse in all ages.
“It’s not just young adults; it’s children, it’s adults, people who are addicted to prescription drugs. The key is we want them out of your bathroom, out of your medicine cabinets and your kitchen counters, we want them gone,” said Mashburn.
The DEA is concerned about the abundance of painkillers prescribed each year.
“According to the CDC, enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for one month,” said the release.