On Saturday, April 28, Greene County General Hospital, in partnership with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, and the Drug Enforcement Administration gave the public its first local opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft. As part of GCGH’s proactive approach to prescription medication responsibility, the take back day allowed participants to rid their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The next opportunity to dispose of medications at GCGH is scheduled for October. Until then, a collection box is available in the front lobby at the Linton Police Department located at 190 NW A Street in Linton, Indiana.
Bryan Woodall, GCGH’s Director of Public Safety, coordinated the event. “It was nice to hear the participants express their appreciation for the opportunity the hospital provided” Woodall described. The DEA has provided 14 opportunities in 7 years to take back prescription medications. This is the first time, however, that Greene County General Hospital was registered as a collection site. Last fall Americans turned in 456 tons (912,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and almost 4,300 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 14 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in more than 9 million pounds—more than 4,500 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 down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.