Medication take-back combats prescription overdose, abuse

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This Saturday, Oct. 29, Marshall Police Department will work toward cleaning up waste. They won't collect paint dried out with Meow Mix, car batteries or household cleaners. Instead, the items MPD will collect are unused or expired medication. Though these aren't classified as hazardous materials by an environmental agency, they can be hazardous in more ways than one.

According to a 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's national survey, more than 7 million Americans abuse prescription drugs. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control indicates prescription drugs are responsible for more overdose deaths than illicit drugs.

Falling in conjunction with Red Ribbon Week, the drug take-back day is part of the National Take Back Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration. In Marshall, it was spearheaded by MPD Uniform Detective Bill McMellen.

"We're trying to get unwanted, unused prescriptions out of the homes," McMellen said. "Abuse is alarmingly high. We want to help prevent overdoses from happening."

McMellen is also a DARE officer and said keeping drugs out of children's hands could prevent an accidental overdose.

"A lot of people will flush (a prescription) or trash it," McMellen continued. "People scavenge through trash and water's got to go somewhere. The take-back is a safe and easy way to get rid of (prescriptions)."

A representative from the DEA will pick up the unwanted medication. From there it will be taken to an agency and incinerated.

Residents may drop off any unused or expired medication at the Marshall City Office Building, 214 N. Lafayette Ave, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"We'll be on the front lot. People won't even have to get out of their vehicles," McMellen added.

Prescription medications may also be dropped off at the police department, 461 W. Arrow St., until Saturday. This is the second drug take-back day so far this year. The DEA currently plans to hold Take Back Days every six months in partnership with local law enforcement agencies.

Contact Sarah Reed at

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