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DEA Holds Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

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HARFORD COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — It is the safest way to dispose of unneeded and expired medication. The Drug Enforcement Administration has conducted a nationwide prescription drug take-back day.

Tim Williams reports the effort deters a potential problem that’s growing bigger all the time.

Saturday, a Harford County parking lot was a hot bed for drug activity, but it wasn’t people buying from dealers creating the traffic. It’s responsible citizens turning in unwanted drugs to federal agents.

“I have a lot of medications that expired and stuff, and I don’t like throwing them in the trash,” said Angele Amadeo. “I’m glad that they do this so I can just drive by and drop it off.”

This is one of 99 locations around the state conducted by the DEA and 38 other law enforcement agencies. The procedure is simple: anyone dropping off a controlled and/or non-controlled substances will not be asked any questions about the drop-off, nor will they be asked for identification.

It’s an attempt to curb a growing problem.

“Right now, prescription drugs rank second only to marijuana as a form of drug abuse and it is of epidemic proportions,” said DEA Special Agent Carl Kotowski. “This is a great opportunity for citizens to get rid of their drugs.”

In recent years, Maryland has taken aim at prescription drug abuse with a new computerized system to track who’s writing painkiller prescriptions and who’s filling them.

“In our country, most of our overdose deaths are related to prescription drugs so we try to get them out of the households,” said Joseph Ryan, Harford County Drug Control.

“My father’s 102 years old. He has some medicines he’s no longer using so I thought I’d turn them in,” said Michael Turner.

All 99 locations across the state collecting the drugs will take them to the DEA office in Baltimore, where they’ll be incinerated within the week. The one-day program is expected to net more than 7,000 pounds of drugs in Maryland.

You can see when upcoming take-back days are being scheduled by clicking here.

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