MASON COUNTY — Last year’s drug “take-back” day was a success in Mason County, and Diana Riddle of the health department hopes that this year the turnout will be even better.
“This is the third year we’ve done it in Mason County,” Riddle said. “And last year’s was more successful than the previous year. We collected over 100 pounds of medications last year.”
Drug “take-back” day is slated for 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., October 26, in the courthouse parking lot in Point Pleasant. The one-day event provides residents with no-cost anonymous collection of unwanted and expired medicines. The event is a nationwide effort, coordinated locally by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Mason County Sheriff Department, and Mason County Anti-Drug Coalitio, considered by many as the safest and most responsible way to dispose of unwanted and expired medicines to protect your family and to protect the safety of drinking water.
“It’s really grown over the years,” said Riddle of the take-back day. “From us the drugs go to the DEA for disposal. They pick it up immediately after the event so it doesn’t stay in Mason County.”
The idea behind the event is to protect children, families and environment by properly disposing of unwanted and expired medicines. According to figures from the DEA, medicines in the home are a leading cause of accidental poisoning and flushed or trashed medicines can end up polluting our waters. Rates of prescription drug abuse are alarmingly high — over half of teens abusing medicines get them from a family member or friend, including the home medicine cabinet, and often without their knowledge.
“The people who came last year expressed that they were glad there was someplace they could take their unused medication,” Riddle said, adding that often it is either the case that the medications have been discontinued or the family member who was a prescription-holder has died.
In the future, the event may be extended to twice a year, and possibly to a second location.
“We have had New Haven express a desire to hold one up there, so the next time might be in New Haven. We’d also like to have it twice a year: once in April and once in October,” said Riddle.
The next project on tap, also with the objective of getting prescription drugs off the streets, is a drop-off location in Mason County.
“We’d like to work with the sheriff’s department to have a permanent drug drop-off,” Riddle said. “A safe place that’s accessible to people who need it. We’re working with [Sheriff] Greg Powers on this.
Riddle added that the funding for the proposed drop-off will come from the Mason County Anti-Drug Coalition.