OCSO collecting unwanted prescription drugs on Saturday

Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 18:05 PM.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public its seventh opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

Residents can bring such medications, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m Saturday, to Wal-Mart stores in Niceville, Destin and Fort Walton Beach. The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.

Last April, Americans reportedly turned in 371 tons of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 DEA-operated sites and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners.

In its six previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in more than 2.8 million pounds 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,” a spokesperson for the effort said. “Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. 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.”

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