Seventy percent of prescription drug abusers get the medication from friends or relatives, according to a recent survey. Copperas Cove Police are being proactive to keep those drugs off city streets.
Over the last week, officers collected nearly 100 pounds of prescribed medication from members of the community, said Sgt. Joaquin Salazar, who oversees the collection. The effort is part of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative conducted twice annually.
“Citizens were able to drop off personal prescriptions either over the counter or prescribed medication that is expired or that they don’t use anymore with no questions asked,” Salazar said.
Prescription medications, including Zoloft, Fentanyl, Oxycontin and Vicodin, were turned over to the DEA on Saturday to be properly destroyed. DEA assumes the cost to destroy the drugs.
“Sometimes they’re either stolen from the residence or they’re put out in the garbage and kids and other people will dig through the garbage and find them and will experiment with them,” Salazar said.
The initiative eliminates improper disposal of prescription drugs, such as flushing them down the toilet and allowing the drugs to enter the water system.
The DEA launched the Drug Take Back Initiative in 2010 to facilitate proper discarding of medication and to prevent prescription drug abuse, which is now more common in America than illegal narcotics.
Because prescription drugs are so readily available, there have also been an increasing number of children using them for nonmedical purposes, Salazar said. Upon request from the DEA, the department will resume the program in April.
Not counting this most recent collection, the DEA has removed more than 2 million pounds of prescription medications from circulation.