A local law enforcement agency recently collected hundreds of pounds of unused medication as a way to keep drugs off the streets.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office participated in a national Drug Take Back Day, organized by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency. The sheriff’s office collected more than 300 pounds of unused medication, worth thousands of dollars, said Randy Werden, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy.
Residents were offered the chance to clear their medicine cabinets of unused pain medication in order to keep pills off the streets, out of the reach of kids and teens and as a way to keep residents safe from being victims of theft and burglaries, Werden said.
The event collected among the largest amounts of medicine in the sheriff’s office history of participating with the Drug Enforcement Agency. With the opioid epidemic, it is increasingly important that residents clear their homes of unused medication to prevent burglaries, he said.
“The purpose is so people can clean out their medicine cabinets before their children or others can get to it,” he said.
Residents could drop off prescription medication they no longer need or use at the annual day. People who could not drop off their drugs on that day can take their unused medication to a drop box in the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office lobby. All unused drugs were taken and are accepted, including over-the-counter medications, Werden said.
Medication collected at the take back day was destroyed.
Prescription medications can pose a risk to those who have them, even legally, as it is now more common for burglars to look for prescription medication before going after jewelry and electronics, Werden said.
“You are trying to do whatever you can to not make yourself a target,” he said. “It is one way to make sure you are protecting your own household, not from just friends and kids, but intruders who are looking for that type of thing.”
The majority of teens who have become addicted to opioids started their addiction by finding prescription medication in their home, Werden said.
Drugs should not be flushed or poured down the drain, as they can get in the water system. And people desperate for drugs can go through people’s trash and get drugs that way, said Werden.
“You don’t want to put them back in the general public,” he said.
Unused medications can be dropped off at the Johnson County Sherrif’s Office Tox Box at 1091 Hospital Road, Franklin.
The box is in a part of the office that is always open.