HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs in 2018 according to a national survey on Drug Use and Health. That's the reason the DEA named October 26 "National Prescription Drug Take Back Day."
Chief Mark McMurray with the Huntsville Police Department says we are in the middle of an epidemic. "We are in the middle of an opioid crisis right now and we don't want these narcotics getting back out on the street and being sold," says Chief McMurray.
It is an effort to remove expired, unused, and unwanted medications from households nationwide. The events all across the country are aimed at providing a responsible, safe, and convenient way to dispose of prescription drugs while also educating the general public.
"Whatever you do, do not flush them down the toilet and do not throw them in the garbage because that puts them back in the environment," says Chief McMurray.
Disposing of your medication properly prevents chemicals from being in the environment and in the wrong hands.
"It stops younger people that may have a tendency to experiment with things that they don't need to experiment with," says Officer Pat Trussell with Huntsville Police Department. "Or people that may be in a situation and they're looking for a way out and have easy access to something."
"Some of the burglars now, they're not breaking in to steal your electronics, they're breaking in looking for drugs," says Chief McMurray. "So don't give them something to look for."
One volunteer says to just hand them off to law enforcement. "This way we know that they will be disposed of, they will be taken to the incinerator by the police department and burned," says Betty Gaylor.
If you missed out on the collection events, it's not too late to dispose of your unused medication. There are drug drop boxes at several locations. "It's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," says Chief McMurray. "You can walk into the front of the police building and drop off your drugs in our secure locations."
Chief McMurray says each quarter HPD has had the drop boxes, they have increased their collection amount.