For the fourth consecutive time, Missouri's prescription drug take back efforts ranked first in the Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) St. Louis Division.
In April, 20,529 pounds of prescription medication were collected at Take Back events held in Missouri. This included 12,458 pounds collected in the St. Louis metropolitan area and 5,955 pounds collected in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Kansas came in second with 8,753 pounds of medication collected.
Other DEA St. Louis Division states that participated in last months event were: Nebraska, 5,372; Iowa, 5,360 pounds; Illinois southern judicial district, 4,199 pounds; and South Dakota, 1,490 pounds.
In total, the St. Louis Division has collected 114,850 pounds of prescription medication through Take Back efforts. Of that, 51,571 pounds of medication were collected in Missouri and 19,223 pounds were collected in Kansas.
The Take Back Initiative began in October of 2010 and is held in October and April of each year. Nationwide, DEA collects over 300,000 pounds of prescription drugs during each bi-annual effort.
Ingesting unused and expired prescription medications can lead to accidental poisoning, overdose and drug abuse. The non-medical use of prescription drugs is one of the most common forms of drug abuse in America, ranking second to marijuana.
Unused and expired prescription drugs should never be thrown into the trash where they can be retrieved and abused or illegally sold. Never dispose of unused drugs in the toilet either. Prescription medications can contaminate the water supply.
According to DEA, the majority of teenagers who abuse prescription drugs get them from family and friends. Teens also often take unused medications from home medicine cabinets.
The next local Take Back event will be held at the Cassville Police Department in October. Community members interested in disposing of unused prescription drugs can also drop them off at the department anytime throughout the year.