Officials 'take back' unused prescription pills

The Clayton County Sheriff's Office and the Clayton County Police Department will be collecting expired, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs for the National Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign.

The "Take-Back" campaign is an effort launched by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which seeks to prevent pill abuse, theft and the improper disposal of prescription drugs.

"The DEA has created the one-day, one-time event, to educate the public, and to take back unused and expired pharmaceuticals," said Deputy Alicia Parkes, Clayton County Sheriff's Office public information officer.

The campaign will take place at sites across the nation, on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 10 a.m., until 2 p.m., according to a news release issued by the DEA.

Drop boxes for collection of prescription drugs, at the Clayton County Sheriff's Office, will be placed at the front of the public entrance, the employee entrance, and the front entrance of the Clayton County Courthouse, in Jonesboro.

Parkes said that sheriff's deputies will be monitoring the drop boxes, at the site. She added that the Clayton County Water Authority is taking part in this initiative by providing educational materials to the public, and increasing awareness on proper disposal of medication, in an effort to preserve the county's water supply.

The Clayton County Police Community Affairs Unit will be at the Lowe's home improvement store, located at 3505 Mt. Zion Rd., in Stockbridge. "We will be walking up to cars for people to drop their prescriptions," said Clayton County Police Officer India Smith.

According to the DEA's release, the service is free and anonymous. It added that the "initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue." Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family members and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet, according to the statement.

In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away — both potential safety and health hazards, officials said in the written statement.

"Working together with our state and local partners, the medical community, anti-drug coalitions, and a concerned public, we will eliminate a major source of abused prescription drugs, and reduce the hazard they pose to our families and communities in a safe, legal, and environmentally sound way," said Michele M. Leonhart, acting administrator of the DEA.