Prescription drug take-back day Sat.

Published 8:18 am Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Drug Education Task Force, along with Freeborn County Partners in Prevention, is hosting its first ever prescription medication collection day in Albert Lea this weekend.

Freeborn County residents are invited to dispose of unused, unwanted and expired prescription and over-the-counter medications from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

It’s a drive-through event, meaning that those wishing to dispose of medications will simply drive to the drop site at the corner of Newton Avenue and College Street in Albert Lea, drop off their medications and drive away.

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According to Alice Englin with Freeborn County Partners in Prevention, 70 percent of youth who are abusing prescription drugs are getting them from the homes of their family or friends.

One of the strategies that has been used in surrounding communities to counter this problem is a take-back day, just as the one in Lake Mills in September, which reportedly collected hundreds of old drugs.

Corey Farris of the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Education Task Force said the problem of abusing prescription and over-the-counter drugs has gotten “out of control.”

“It’s really exploded here just like it has throughout the state,” he said. “It’s everybody, with kids as young as 11 up to people in their 50s.”

He said with both prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, people are taking dangerously large amounts rather than normal dosages to get pleasure from the drugs, leading to theft and crime to get drugs and pay for them.

He also said those addicted to over-the-counter and prescription medications are going to creative lengths to score drugs.

“They will see houses for sale, ask realtors to take them through and look in the bathrooms for pills,” Farris said.

He said local officers will soon receive more training to help combat the problem.

“If we can eliminate what’s sitting in everybody’s cabinet, it’s just one more step in the right direction,” Farris added. “If you don’t need it, get rid of it so other family members don’t start to use it or abuse it.”

In case of inclement weather on Saturday, a snow date has been planned, which the Tribune will publish if the need arises.

The event is being funded by the Federal Drug Free Communities Support Program Grant and sponsored by United Way of Freeborn County in coordination with the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office, Albert Lea Police Department and Freeborn County Environmental Services Department.

Guidelines for dropping off old medications at the event:

  • It is strongly advised, but not required, to leave medications in original containers.
  • Leave the name of the medication on the bottle.
  • It is strongly advised, but not required, to cross your name off of prescription bottles.
  • Put all of your bottles into a bag or box.
  • Drive to the event site and hand your bag or box through your car window to the event worker. The event worker will be wearing an orange vest.
  • Wait for your bag or box to be emptied, and it will be returned to you.
  • No Sharps (needles, syringes or blades) will be accepted.