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Dump those old drugs for Take Back Day

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JACKSON -- Each day, approximately 2,500 teenagers use prescription drugs to get high for the first time, according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America. Studies show a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, many right out of a home medicine cabinet.

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In conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office is asking citizens to drop off unused prescription drugs at the law enforcement center.

"We actually have a 'Take It to the Box' program that we started in late April," Jackson County Sheriff Roger Hawkinson said. "People can drop off prescription drugs any time. Just remove your name from the product and drop it in the box."

The most important aspect of the program is getting the drugs out of the community, he said. On the national day, the drugs get turned over to the DEA and are incinerated.

"We've collected quite a few -- a couple barrels full," Hawkinson said.

Several years ago, legislation was passed allowing law enforcement agencies to take back the pharmaceutical drugs to protect young adults and teens from abusing them, Hawkinson added, but did not give the agencies money for disposal of the drugs.

"So we ask the DEA once a year to dispose of them," the sheriff said.

The box is available at the office any time, and once a name is removed, the whole pill bottle can be tossed in the secure box. No sharps should be put in the box.

Approximately 4,000 agencies throughout the nation participated in the last two Take Back days, collecting more than 309 tons of pills. Currently, the DEA plans to have a national event every six months.

Anyone with questions can contact the Jackson County Sheriff's Office at (507)-847-4420.

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