Drug take-back event set

Published 1:02 am Tuesday, April 23, 2019

SCAMH organizing events in Andalusia, Opp Saturday

South Central Alabama Mental Heath Center’s participation in the National  Drug Take Back event this weekend is not only a way to get prescription drugs off of the street, it is also a way to educate the public.

“The main reason we do this is to get the prescription drugs off of the streets,” Prevention Services Coordinator Staci Wilson said. “Because the use of prescription drugs is the largest drug problem in the nation and here in Covington County.”

Wilson said that most people don’t know that they are potentially contributing to the problem by keeping their prescription drugs.

“Quite frankly, a lot of people just don’t realize that they are contributing to the problem,” Wilson said. “Like they will have grandparents and parents that have prescription drugs and they don’t realize that holding on to an older prescription for later is contributing to the problem. It may not be their child or grandchild that is getting the prescription drugs, but it may be a guest that is rummaging through the bathroom cabinets.”

She said that by getting unused prescription drugs out of the hands of the people is a way to make them not as easily accessible.

“We collected about 103 pounds of prescription drugs last year,” Wilson said. “People are just hanging on to their medication. They can bring any type of medication as well, even over the counter, because people can make whatever kinds of other drugs out of over the counter medication.”

Even flushing it down the toilet may not be safe for the community, Wilson said.

“I see that people are buying these little kits and flushing it down the toilet,” Wilson said. “But if everybody is flushing it down the toilet then it is contaminating our drinking water. By having this event, we are giving the people a proper channel to dispose of their medication.”

The National Drug Take Back Day is set for this Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m., until 2 p.m., at the Andalusia Wal-Mart and the Opp Walgreen’s parking lot.  Liquids are not accepted.

The Covington County Drug Task Force will be located at the Opp location.

“We will have the DTF there to help as well,” Wilson said. “People can just drive by, they don’t have to get out of their car. We will just grab it out of your window and put it in the box.”

Wilson said that the opioid epidemic is still increasing in the nation.

“People are just finding more creative ways now,” Wilson said. “The other day there was one of the largest pill mill busts in the nation. We are continuing to do things to help with the problem, but there will always be dangers that people don’t realize.:

She said that she does not have a set goal for the pounds of prescription drugs that they gather on Saturday, but she is hoping for at least 30 pounds.

“If we get a 100 pounds, that’s great, if we get one pill that is great too,” Wilson said. “Because one pill off the street is better than none.”