Hazelwood Holds National Drug Take-Back Day with 2 Collection Sites

The Hazelwood Police Department (HPD) is partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for the 7th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The HPD will set up two collection sites where people can drop off their medications without being questioned or asked for identification.

The HPD will set up two collection sites. The first will be at the curb in front of City Hll, 415 Elm Grove Lane. Motorists can drive up to the box to drop medicines. In case of rain, the collection box will be moved inside the building’s lobby. The second collection site will be at the Police Sub-Station at the St. Louis Outlet mall.

According to the results of a national survey released by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and the MetLife Foundation, medicine abuse among adolescents is a growing problem.  The study revealed that one in four teens (24%) reported having misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime.  This statistic has jumped from 18% in 2008, a 33% increase over a five-year period.

Of those kids who said they abused Rx medications, one in five (20%) has done so before the age of 14.  More than a quarter of teens (27%) mistakenly believe that misusing and abusing prescription drugs is safer than using street drugs like cocaine, heroin or crystal meth.  And, one in eight teens (13%) now report they’ve taken stimulants such as Ritalin and Addrall when it wasn’t prescribed for them, at least once in their lifetime.

“If we allow unused prescription drugs to sit and collect in our medicine cabinets, drawers or pantries, we give our family members or guests that abuse these drugs the opportunity to sustain their addictions and continue with their abusive behaviors,” said Hazelwood Chief of Police Gregg Hall. “This abuse is not a problem isolated to teenagers or adolescents.  There are thousands of adults in our communities that share the same problems related to prescription drug abuses.”

Hall explains, “The results of this abuse are real and have been documented over and over again with stories of broken families and lost lives.” With the hope of encouraging more participation in this event, Hall stated that, “we can minimize the risk that exists in each of our households by contributing to this effort. Gather any and all unused prescription drugs and bring them to one of our collection sites on Oct. 26. Become a part of our ‘Take-Back Day’ effort and share this information with others you are close to.”

During the sixth Take-Back Day in April, the HPD collected about 150 pounds of medications at the two collection sites.  Nationwide, more than 5,829 locations manned by 4,312 state and local law enforcement agencies collected 742,497 pounds (371 tons) of prescription medications.  Added to the previous five collections, more than 2.8 million pounds (1,409 tons) of prescription medications have been removed from circulation.

Teenagers are just a fraction of the nearly six million Americans who abuse prescription drugs.  According to the DEA, twice as many Americans regularly abuse prescribed medications than those who regularly use cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined.  The same DEA study revealed more than 70% of people abusing prescription pain relievers got them through friends or relatives, a statistic that includes raiding the family medicine cabinet.

The HPD plans to continue participating in the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day events until a more uniform system of disposing prescription drugs is set up.  For more information on HPD’s involvement in the Take-Back Day on October 26, contact Sgt. Doug McGarry, HPD’s Neighborhood Action Team (N.A.T.) Supervisor at (314) 513-5208.


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