Merced to collect prescription drugs during Drug Take-Back Day

aibarra@mercedsunstar.comApril 24, 2014 

The Merced County Sheriff’s Office will be collecting prescription drugs from the public this Saturday for safe and ecologically responsible disposal.

Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is a national event put on by the Drug Enforcement Administration every six months. Residents are asked to empty medicine cabinets of unwanted, unused and expired prescription drugs and take them to one of the several collection sites.

Prescription and over-the-counter medications, inhalers, syrups and liquids will be collected.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in three locations in Merced: Merced Community College parking lot, 3600 M St.; Merced County Sheriff’s Department parking lot, 700 W. 22nd St.; and the Merced County Sheriff’s Delhi Substation, 9481 Shanks Road.

“Basically, we want to to take all unnecessary prescription drugs off the streets,” said Deputy Delray Shelton. “We just want to ensure that these drugs are disposed of properly and that they don’t end up in the wrong hands.”

Livingston police will also have a Drug Take-Back Day at their station, located at 1446 C St. Last year, Livingston police collected more than 100 pounds of prescription drugs.

Wikki Verma, a government contractor who has met with DEA officials to discuss the success of the program in Livingston, said prescription drug abuse is an elusive epidemic.

“The fact that it is in the medicine cabinet can give people a false sense of safety when using,” he said. “Always follow the advising doctor’s dosage and keep out of the hands of not only children but also adults, where the drugs may have an adverse effect.”

Officials said the program is anonymous and no requests for identification will be made.

According to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 6 million Americans abuse prescription drugs, and about 70 percent of people get these drugs through friends and relatives.

Anyone interested in obtaining more information can call the Sheriff’s Department at (209) 385-7608.

Sun-Star staff writer Ana B. Ibarra can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or aibarra@mercedsunstar.com.

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