It’s time to go through those bathroom drawers and cabinets.
Saturday is national Drug Take-Back Day.
Georgia is again promoting the effort to prevent prescription pill abuse. Members of the public are encouraged to rid their homes of expired, unused or unwanted drugs.
The CDC has reported that prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in the United States. Unused drugs in the home can contribute to this abuse, and teenagers are especially prone to misuse pills left in medicine cabinets or drawers.
Some young people use such drugs at parties: They pour several different kinds of pills into a bowl and then take them at random.
The number of accidental poisonings and overdoses from these drugs has increased.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Medical Examiner’s Office says that in 2011, 512 deaths were officially attributed to prescription drug abuse in Georgia. This statistic largely excludes metro Atlanta counties, so the real number is actually higher, law enforcement officials say.
“I am proud to partner with the DEA and local law enforcement to urge Georgians to clean out their medicine cabinets and discard old and unwanted prescription drugs,” said state Attorney General Sam Olens in a statement. “Unfortunately, prescription drug abuse is wreaking havoc in communities across Georgia, and many abusers obtain or steal drugs from family and friends.”
Improper drug disposal can also pose a threat to the environment. Flushing pills down the toilet, or throwing them into the trash, presents potential safety and health hazards.
The DEA’s sixth Drug Take-Back event is free and anonymous, and will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
During the last event, held in September 2012, sites registered in Georgia collected 8,233 pounds of prescription drugs. Georgians have turned over more than 25,000 pounds of prescription drugs at Drug Take-Back Days since 2010.