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Event promotes upcoming 'Take-Back' day

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Mehgaan Jones

mjones@news-daily.com

On Wednesday, the Clayton County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Clayton County Board of Education hosted a 'Take-Back' media event at M.D. Roberts Middle School, in Jonesboro.

The event promoted the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, which will take place on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 10 a.m., until 2 p.m., at the Harold R. Banke Justice Center, in Jonesboro, and at more than 100 other sites in Georgia, officials said.

The campaign will also take place at sites across the nation, according to DEA officials.

On Saturday, authorities will have drop boxes at the Justice Center to collect expired and unused prescription drugs, which will be safely discarded, officials said.

"We are encouraging people to come and drop off prescriptions ... There will be no questions asked," said Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough. He added that there will be educational information about the proper disposal of drugs, at the Justice Center.

At the media event, students from M.D. Roberts Middle School gathered to listen to authorities, and various members from Safe Kids Georgia, the Clayton County Water Authority, and the Georgia Poison Control Center.

The event at the school, located at 1905 Walt Stephens Road, began with a mock drug raid, which included a helicopter fly-over and a DEA police truck. The mock raid was used to help demonstrate to students the consequences of selling and distributing drugs illegally, according to authorities.

Special Agent Chuvalo Truesdell, DEA public information officer for the Atlanta division, opened the press conference with a short speech. He explained to the students that taking prescription drugs can be just as deadly as cocaine, heroine, and other illegal drugs. He emphasized the importance of choosing the right lifestyle.

Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge, DEA of Atlanta, spoke about the relevance of the National Take-Back effort, on Saturday. "We want to raise awareness of what is in medicine cabinets, and raise awareness about the abuse of prescription drugs in this country," he said.

GBI Inspector Fred Stephens added that the illegal distribution of prescription medication is becoming a serious problem. He said that "abusing prescription drugs is no different than a cocked gun. It is just as deadly."

The Georgia Poison Control Center receives more than 100,000 phone calls per year, which involve children and young adults, according to

Dr. Gaylord Lopez, of the center. Speaking during the media event, Lopez said the majority of the calls involve prescription pills and over-the-counter medications.

"If we can reduce the number of prescription pill abuse[s], we can save lives," he said. Lopez added that turning in bottles of prescription pills may help save lives.

For more information regarding drop-off sites for the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, visit www.dea.gov.