DERRY TOWNSHIP, DAUPHIN COUNTY—Prescription drug use is skyrocketing in the U.S. with millions illegally or improperly using the drugs. Tomorrow is an opportunity to clean out those unused drugs from the medicine cabinets at home and make everyone a little safer.
Over the past decade, the amount of people abusing prescription drugs has quadrupled. Tomorrow, at many different locations across Pennsylvania, including the Hershey Public Library, authorities will be collecting those drugs to make sure they don't fall into the wrong hands.
Prescription drug use and overuse is an epidemic in this country. In fact, more people die from prescription drug overdose than cocaine and heroin combined. Over 15,000 people nationwide died from prescription drug overdoses in 2008 alone.
Saturday, September 29 is a chance to cut down on the potentially dangerous side effects of these medicines. Local, state and national police departments are trying to get some of these drugs off of the streets and out of the house with the National Prescription Drug Take Back Program. The focus is unwanted, expired and unused prescription drugs.
"[We want to] make sure that it doesn't fall into the wrong hands. It doesn't pollute the waterways should people decide they want to flush it down the toilet. It gives them a safe place to dispose of the medication," said Cpl. Mark Russo from the Pennsylvania State Police during the 4th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Program in April.
The last time this program running ran was back in April. The numbers were astounding. The Drug Enforcement Agency credited that one-day campaign with collecting 276 tons of drugs nationally, including 3,500 pounds right here in Pennsylvania.
The process is anonymous so no personal information needs to be given to drop off the drugs. Besides the locations run by the state police across the stats, dozens of other municipalities like Derry Township Police are collecting drugs as well.
For locations provided by the State Police, click on PSP Drug Take Back locations.
For more information on where to drop the drugs call 1-800-882-9539 or visit the Department of Justice.