Saturday is Prescription Take Back Day

West Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- It is estimated that 6.8 million Americans abuse prescription drugs.

That number is almost twice as many as those abusing cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and other inhalants combined according to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

To combat prescription drugs getting into the wrong hands the DEA is holding its eighth National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday.

"If it has expired and it doesn't need to be there just go ahead and bring it to us, let us destroy it for you," said Lieutenant John Norman of the West Columbia Police Department.

West Columbia Police is just one of the numerous agencies participating in the take back program.

"If it has been in your house for 10 years and you don't think you are supposed to have it, it doesn't matter we are not asking questions, it all gets destroyed," said Norman.

Norman says disposing of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs properly is important for two reasons.

Norman said, "We don't get the prescription drugs in the hands of people that don't need them, youth, drug users, people who have addictions on the street, they don't break into houses because they don't worry about them there, but they are also not dumped in the toilets, it is not in the drinking water and not in the environment."

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, unused medications in homes can create a safety concern because they can be ingested by accident, stolen, misused, and abused.

In 2010, more Americans died from prescription drug overdoses than from motor vehicle accidents, even more the reason to dispose of medications properly and you can you do it anonymously too according to officials.

Norman said, "Nothing is known by us, we don't look at it, the DEA is really good about picking it up and transferring it to a burn site and they destroy it for us."

Lieutenant Norman says the take back day a year ago brought in over two and half truckloads of medication, he isn't sure if this years will be that big, but he hopes the public will take care of those medications now when they have to opportunity.

Norman said, "There is no set place to take it for some people, so by doing this and letting the public know, we are hoping that they know they can come and get rid of it now and we are happy to get rid of it for them."

The most recent take back day brought in 5,527.18 pounds of medications in South Carolina alone.

The event is Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., for site near you visit the


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