Richmond County Sheriff's Office hosts take-back day to fight prescription drug abuse

Published: Aug. 20, 2016 at 11:13 PM EDT
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News 12 at 11o'clock / August 20, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- It's about more than just safely throwing out the drugs. It's also about the rise of drug abuse in Georgia. One way Richmond County Sheriff's Office is trying to prevent that is by hosting take back days for people to properly dispose prescription drugs.

It was five years ago when Ted White's wife, Mary, needed surgery.

"We suddenly realized this morning well, we've got pain pills that have been sitting around the house for five years." said White.

Containers of unused pills just lying around.

"You get a prescription, and you take some of the pills, and then you don't need them any longer." said White.

That's why the Richmond County Sheriff's Office hosted a take back day--a chance to get rid of old and expired prescription drugs.

"They just don't know what to do with the medication, so they just hang onto it, and like I said, we've just had a tremendous response," said Chris Masters, RCSO Community Service Division Officer.

The response has grown over the last few years. In eight hours, the Sheriff's office had ten 50-gallon bags full of expired prescription drugs.

"A lot of people that dropped it off today said that that's why they're disposing of it," explained Masters, "They didn't' want it to get in the hands of a grandchild or loved one."

According to the GBI, overdose deaths in Georgia are increasing. Since 2012, the total number of overdoses is more than 700. Prescription drug abuse alone caused more than half of those. The Sheriff's Office said, it's a difficult problem to fight because prescription drugs are not illegal.

"Obviously we're taking it off the streets today and disposing of it, so it won't fall into the wrong hands," said Masters

But for White, he said days like these remind him to clean out the medicine cabinet.

"Without something like this, I really don't know what the solution is to dispose of medications properly," said White.

The Sheriff's Office will host another take back day on October 22nd. You can also drop any unused prescription drugs at the administration building at the dropbox.