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DEA Program Takes Back Unused Prescription Drugs

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—They’re legal, but police say there’s widespread abuse of prescription drugs nationwide. But this weekend, DEA agents are offering an easy way to turn in unused medication.

Gigi Barnett explains how.

It’s fast, easy and convenient, and works just like most drive-thrus. Except the folks here aren’t picking up. They’re dropping-off old prescription drugs.

Twice a year, DEA agents nationwide hold a prescription drug take-back. This weekend agents camped out in the sleet and snow at several drop-off points across Maryland.

“Right now, the non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana,” Joe Ryan of the Harford County Drug Control said.

The take-back spot in Harford County has the highest turn-in rates in Maryland.

“In our county, 80 percent of our deaths related to drug and alcohol deaths are related to prescription drug overdose,” said Carl Kotowski, Asst. Special Agent in Charge.

Most folks believe that they can dispose of their prescription drugs themselves, but DEA agents say this is the best way to do it, because if you keep it in your house, you’re more susceptible to crime.

“We have situations where it’s called dumpster-diving,” Ryan said. “That’s why we advocate, don’t throw it in your trash, because people will go into your trash and try to steal the prescription drugs.”

DEA agents have a no-questions-asked policy. The next take-back comes in the spring.  It’s a free program.

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