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Hazelwood Police Join DEA-Sponsored National Prescription Drug Take-Back Event on September 29

The Hazelwood Police Department (HPD) will be among the expected 4,268 federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, scheduled for Saturday, September 29, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Two collection points, one at Hazelwood City Hall and the other at the Police Sub-Station at St. Louis Mills, will enable people to anonymously drop off their expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications.

Americans across the country have responded overwhelmingly to previous DEA-led National Take-Back Drug events. For the last one held on April 28th, citizens turned in a record-breaking 552,161 pounds (276 tons) of unwanted or expired medications at 5,659 collection sites in all 50 states, including U.S. territories.  The City of Hazelwood collected approximately 300 pounds of pills compared to St. Louis’ regional total of 12,731 pounds.

“We’re very pleased with the response we’ve been getting from Hazelwood residents, and we thank them for participating and contributing to the battle against prescription drug abuse,” said HPD Sgt. Andy Eagan.  “The increase in the amount of pills we’ve collected each time can be attributed to the growing level of trust people have about disposing the medications they no longer need.”

Sgt. Eagan said that people shouldn’t be apprehensive about turning in their unused prescription drugs.  “We make it simple for them by placing collection boxes at the street curb in front of City Hall or just inside the front door at the Police Substation at St. Louis Mills.  No questions are asked and identification is never requested.  All they have to do is drop off their medications and leave.”

In case of rain, the HPD will have signs posted at City Hall directing people to the collection box placed inside the lobby near the front entrance.  If the weather is nice, people can just drive up and dump their pill bottles in the collection box and leave without being bothered.

“Until a more uniform system for prescription drug disposal is set up, the HPD will continue partnering with the DEA on these Take-Back Drug events as a public service to our residents,” Sgt. Eagan added.

This program addresses a vital public safety and health issue.  Abuse of prescription drugs is the fastest-growing segment for illegal drug use in America.  In the U.S. alone, more than 15 million people abuse prescription drugs, a total that surpasses the combined number who report using cocaine, methamphetamines, and heroin.  Plus, disposing of unused medicines by flushing them down the toilet has the potential of poisoning our clean water systems.

The increase in prescription drug abuse is of particular concern among teenagers.  Recent statistics show that 1 in 5 teens reported that they have abused prescription drugs to get high, and 1 in 7 reported doing so in the past 12 months.  They often experiment with drugs at unsupervised parties and get hooked on them by raiding the medicine cabinet or asking friends for their supply.

For more information on the HPD’s participation in the National Prescription Take-Back Drug event on September 29, contact Sgt. Andy Eagan at (314) 513-5208.

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