April 25, 2019  |  08:44 am

This Saturday (April 27), the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office will participate in a one-day collaborative initiative with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to prevent pill abuse and theft by offering the public an opportunity to rid their homes of potentially dangerous unused, unwanted and expired prescription drugs.

Last fall Americans turned in nearly 460 tons (more than 900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and almost 4,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 16 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in almost 11 million pounds—nearly 5,500 tons—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. 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. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows year after year that the majority of misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else’s medication being stolen from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Collection for this one-day collaborative effort will take place this Saturday (April 27) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the following locations - the STPSO Administrative Building, 300 Brownswitch Road, in Slidell; the STPSO Law Enforcement Complex at 2070 Collins Blvd., in Covington; and the STPSO Bush Substation, at 81657 Hwy 41., in Bush. (Sites cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps - only pills or patches.) The service is free and anonymous; no questions asked. 

The STPSO has permanent drug take-back boxes at the STPSO Administrative Building in Slidell and the STPSO Law Enforcement Complex in Covington. Since these permanent drug take-back boxes were put in place in late 2017, St. Tammany Parish residents have presented nearly 500 lbs. of drugs for disposal. 

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 27 Take Back Day event, visit www.DEATakeBack.com