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Local pharmacies collect unused prescriptions for drug take-back day

Published: Apr. 24, 2021 at 11:30 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Drug Enforcement Administration hosted its semi-annual drug take-back program Saturday.

Local pharmacies and law enforcement agencies teamed up to clear prescription pills out of medicine cabinets. They hope collecting expired and unused meds can help prevent life threatening overdoses.

“We were collecting unused, expired medications that people didn’t need any longer,” said Laura Knotts, a pharmacist at Parks Pharmacy in North Augusta.

Though the medications might not be needed, they can be a temptation for some people if they sit in medicine cabinets.

“We know that a large percentage of those who become addicted, the first experience they have is from getting it is at a home of a friend or a neighbor,” said Knotts.

The Aiken Center, a substance abuse resource center, was also at Parks Pharmacy to help. They say the pandemic been ideal for those who live with addiction.

“It’s increased their stress, therefore their use/their misuse of substances, [and] their frequency,” said Tonya Avery, prevention services coordinator at the Aiken Center.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 13 percent of U.S. adults reported starting or increasing substance abuse during the pandemic.

“You have people in recovery who during the pandemic did not have their regular support,” said Avery. “They’re used to being face to face with their support system.”

And one bottle turned into pharmacies like CVS or Parks, is one less bottle found on the streets.

“Last November, [The D.E.A] took in a record number of prescription medications: 492 thousand pounds. Georgia collected 148,000 pounds,” said Sgt. David Milford, with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Community Service Division.

Parks Pharmacy wants to remind you not to flush any medication, as it can get into our water and food supply.

If you missed Saturday’s take-back program, you can still drop off unwanted prescriptions to North Augusta Public Safety, or the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office location on Walton Way.

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