Drug Take Back Day offers safe, anonymous prescription disposal

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Local substance abuse prevention coalitions and law enforcement agencies have partenered with the Drug Enforcement Administration to host National Drug Take Back Day events on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event is intended to help prevent prescription drug abuse by allowing people to dispose of potentially dangerous expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs at 11 locations across East Texas.

The service is free and anonymous.

Locations include Smith County Sheriff’s Office, Jacksonville Police Department, Kilgore Police Department, Longview Police Department, White Oak Police Department.

Also, Rusk County Sheriff’s Office, Hallsville Police Department, Morris County Sheriff’s Office, Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Marshall Police Department.

Also, Gladewater Police department, Bi-State Justice Center in Texarkana, Clarksville Police Department, Gun Barrel City Police Department, Paris Police Department.

Drug stores with drop boxes include CVS at 1754 Loop 281 in Longview, CVS on Loop 256 in Paletsine, Louis Morgan Drug #4 on Johnston Street in Longview.

The full list of locations can be found at easttexasrx.com.

Next Step Community Solutions, a Tyler-based nonprofit, has three youth substance abuse prevention coalitions that cover 13 counties, The East Texas Substance Abuse Coalition, Piney Woods Substance Abuse Coalition and Northeast Texas Coalition Against Substance Abuse.

“It’s a privilege to join forces with the East Texas Substance Abuse Coalition and the Tyler Police Department on a prescription drug take back event,” said Dr. Dan Crawford, Robert E. Lee High School principal. “America has an opioid crisis and many of the medicines that teens abuse are taken from their home medicine cabinet. Anything we can do to make our students and the community safe is a priority.”

The East Texas Substance Abuse Coalition said the iniative addresses a vital public safety and health issue.

“Medicines that sit in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misue and abuse,” said Lauren Barnes, coalition coordinator for the East Texas Substance Abuse Coalition. “Also, we’re trying to educate the community to prevent them from getting rid of their unused medications by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, since those are potential safety and environmental hazards.”

Barnes added that prescription drugs should be stored safely in a lock box, not in an open cabinet, and properly disposed of when no longer needed. 

The availability of prescription controlled substance is especially a problem in East Texas, Barnes said.

Locally, there are more controlled substances prescribed per capita than in the state, according to the Texas DPS.

Barnes said the high number of medications being prescribed means there’s greater access for teens to abuse the drugs. 

Sixty-two percent of teens say it’s easy to get prescription drugs from parents’ medicine
cabinets, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“Parents could be the accidental drug dealer and not even realize it,” Barnes said. “Safe storage,
use and disposal are key in helping prevent teens from abusing prescription drugs.”

In addition to the DEA Drug Take Back Day, the public can dispose of their unused medications
year-round at permanent drop boxes across East Texas. The list of safe disposal locations can be
found at easttexasrx.com.

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