Nearly 100 residents took advantage of Mission Viejo’s National Take Back Day site Saturday, turning in 285 pounds of unused or expired prescription medications for safe disposal by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). With Saturday’s tally added to an event earlier this year, residents have dropped off 450 pounds of unused medications in Mission Viejo alone.
“The growing response to DEA’s National Take Back Day events demonstrates that the public understands and wants to help combat the epidemic of prescription drug abuse in America,” said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart in a statement. “They recognize the need to rid their homes of dangerous controlled substance medications that teens and others steal, abuse, and sell.”
Mission Viejo’s Police Services staff, volunteers, Sheriff’s Department Explorers and a DEA agent were on hand at City Hall to take bags and boxes of unwanted medications. Residents expressed satisfaction with the ease of the drive-thru drop off and relief for ridding their medicine cabinets of unused and unwanted medications for safe, environmentally friendly disposal.
“By removing unused or expired controlled substance medications from the home and securing necessary medications, residents are taking an important step to safeguard family and friends from a temptation that has become increasingly difficult to resist,” said Lt. Chris Wilson, Chief of Mission Viejo Police Services. “Our participation in National Take Back Day allows us an opportunity to educate residents while offering a service that helps keep our community safe.”
Many medications that remain in the family medicine cabinet are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Prescription medication abuse has surpassed the abuse of addictive hallucinogens and heroin combined, according to the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Residents should be diligent about keeping their home environment safe. Cleaning out the medicine cabinet and securing other medications has become an important step to overall home safety.