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Dispose Of Prescription Drugs At DEA ‘Take Back’ Events On Saturday

Photo of person's hands holding prescription medications.

Left over prescription drugs in people’s homes that are abused are just one factor behind the toll of America’s opioid epidemic.

On Saturday the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day will happen in towns throughout our region to create a way to safely dispose of extra medications.  

“The idea behind it is we take and dispose of these items in a proper manner,” said Lt. Dennis Ward with the Grants Pass department of public safety.

According to a recent analysis of DEA data by the Washington Post, Josephine County had one of the highest per capita prescribing levels in Oregon. The county-level data shows the equivalent of 79 pills were supplied to each person in the county per year from 2006-2012.

According to Ward the disposal events are also focused on keeping extra or unused medications out of the environment.

“If you just stick them down the toilet or some other manner it gets reintroduced into our water system, which is not good for all of us,” Ward said.

The Grants Pass public safety department disposed of 1284 pounds of drugs throughout 2018. They’ve disposed of 806 pounds so far in 2019.

The takeback day events are happening at about about a dozen locations in our region from Coquille to Medford to Arcata.  

Erik Neumann is JPR's news director. He earned a master's degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and joined JPR as a reporter in 2019 after working at NPR member station KUER in Salt Lake City.