Crime Watch

Dispose of unused drugs properly at April 27 drop-off day

 

Special to The Miami Herald

I received this press release from the Drug Enforcement Administration about how, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 27, local police departments and the DEA will give the public its sixth opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

Here’s what the DEA had to say:

Last September, Americans turned in 244 tons of prescription drugs at over 5,200 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law-enforcement partners. In its five previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in over 2 million pounds — over a thousand tons — of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Four days after the first event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. The DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act. Until new regulations are in place, local law-enforcement agencies and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.

Many local police agencies are participating, including Miami-Dade, City of Miami, Coral Gables and Miami Gardens, among others. To find a drop-off site, visit www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback and click on “locate collection site near you,” or call your local police agency. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Another important event coming up is our “Stop the Violence” Blue Ribbon Week campaign, April 29-May 3, 2013, organized by Youth Crime Watch of Miami-Dade County in conjunction with the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department. Numerous YCW school programs (clubs/groups) and other student delegations will be participating in the campaign by: decorating their schools with blue (official YCW color) ribbons, creating “YCW Stop the Violence” posters on various youth crime prevention topics and posting them up at several locations throughout the school campus, and announcing a “YCW Stop the Violence Safety Tip of the Day” each day during the morning announcements.

Last week I mentioned that I was having a class reunion on Miami Beach (JHS Class of 1966 from Tampa) which turned out fabulous. But while I was on South Beach, I couldn’t help but notice so many women with purses hanging on the side of their chairs many opened wide at restaurants. With all those crowds anyone walking by could have just picked the purse up and walked away. So when in a restaurant, please place those purses between your ankles and hold on to them.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to carmen@citizenscrimewatch.org, or call her at 305-470-1670.

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