Saturday, Sept. 29 is the date set for the Drug Take Back Day, a national program of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). DEA and its partners will set up locations throughout the state to provide West Virginians the opportunity to rid their medicine cabinets of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.
"Prescription drug abuse is plaguing West Virginia and the nation. It is tearing apart our families and communities, and we are losing far too many people from prescription drug overdoses," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller in a released statement..
Saturday's event marks the fifth National Prescription Drug Take Back Day at thousands of sites across America. Collection sites are open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department participates in the day having their office open at Bardane during the four-hour time slot. In addition, they provide officers at the Charles Town Wal-Mart where residents can also drop their items.
According to a spokesperson at the Sheriff's Office, an officer is required to be on-site at any drop-off location to ensure the proper containment of the drugs.
In addition to the Sheriff's Office and Wal-Mart, residents may also take their unwanted or expired drugs to the West Virginia State Police Detachment also in Bardane or to the Charles Town Farmer's Market from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. A Charles Town police officer will be on hand for the hours of the market.
According to information from the DEA website, Americans participating in DEA's four previous Take-Back Days turned in nearly 1.6 million pounds-almost 774 tons-of prescription drugs, most recently at almost 5,700 sites operated by nearly 4,300 of the DEA's local law enforcement partners. DEA's last event collected more than double the pills as their first event two years ago, with almost 50 percent more participating agencies and sites this past April than in September of 2010.
According to a statement posted on the website of BOLD, Building Our Lives Drug-free, which is a substance abuse prevention initiative, the Charles Town Wal-Mart location was the third largest take back location in terms of pounds of medication turned in. The site does not indicate if that statistic is statewide or just in the immediate area.