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Home  |  News  |  Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s “OPERATION TAKE BACK MEDICATION" Program

Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s “OPERATION TAKE BACK MEDICATION" Program
Wednesday, April 27, 2011

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC - Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott proudly announced today that the Sheriff's Department will again be partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration on April 30, 2011 on the national initiative focusing on the disposal of unwanted, unused, and expired medicine. This collaborative effort is designed to bring national focus to the issue of prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse, provide an opportunity for a nationwide day of disposal of unused, unwanted, and expired medicine.

Sheriff Leon Lott has been offering drop off locations in Richland County since 2007 and understands the importance of cleaning out your medicine cabinets and securing medication; which is why we have been educating and providing citizens with safe and secure drop off sites for the past three years. With the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it showed prescription medicines to be the most abused drugs by Americans, other than marijuana. It was found that 70% of people who abuse prescription pain relievers say they get them from friends or relatives. A recent study on drug use by of teens by the Partnership for a Drug Free America (PDFA) found that one in 9 children are abusing prescription pain relievers to get high.

Sheriff Leon Lott agrees that it is crucial to educate teens about the risks of prescription drug abuse and the importance of following safety guidelines provided by their doctors. Prescription drug abuse and misuse affects all segments of the population, and is especially prominent among youth. Every day it is estimated that 2,500 teens abuse a prescription pain killer for the first time.

  • Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem across the United States. Surveys among our youth show that more than 16 million Americans age 12 and older took a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant, or sedatives at least once in the previous year.
  • Nationally, more young people ages 12-17 abuse prescription drugs than any illicit drug except marijuana.
  • Youth are misusing their own prescribed medications, sharing their medications with others, and are taking or sharing medications that have been obtained from family members and other adults.
  • In the Midlands, prescription drug abuse ranks second only to alcohol use, surpassing both tobacco and marijuana use.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, in partnership with the DEA, we will be hosting a local disposal site for community residents to drop off medications at the Sheriff’s Department Headquarters located at 5623 Two Notch Road on Saturday April 30, 2011 from 10 AM to 2 PM.

Sheriff Leon Lott would like to encourage community members to clean out their medicine cabinets and secure their medications. The Sheriff is asking that you take the following steps to help reduce identity theft and abuse of prescription medications:

  1. Take inventory of your prescription and over-the-counter medicine.
  2. Lock your medicine chest.
  3. Dispose of your unused, unwanted, and expired medicine in your home or at one of our drop off locations.
  4. Take your medicine(s) exactly as prescribed.
  5. Talk to your children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
These are tips on how to safeguard and properly dispose of medications:

  1. Take inventory of the medicine cabinet regularly.
  2. Store medications in a secure place that only a trusted adult can access.
  3. Monitor dosages and refills of household prescription medications.
  4. Don't flush medications down the drain or toilet.
  5. Use a permanent marker and cover your personal information or tear the label off and into pieces

Sheriff Leon Lott added that one of the ways the Richland County Sherriff’s Department is assisting in this effort is by providing permanent locations that citizens can drop off prescription medications for disposal. Richland County Residents are provided locked boxes that are accessible to the public from 9:00 am - 11:00 am on Mondays and Wednesdays at the following locations:

Richland County Sheriff's Department Headquarters

5623 Two Notch Road
Columbia, SC 29223
(803) 576-3000

*This is the only 24 hour/7 day a week drop off site

Region #1, (803) 576-1470
2615-B Lower Richland Blvd.
Columbia, SC 29061

Region #2, (803) 788-1667
7201 Two Notch Road
Columbia, SC 29223

Region #3, (803) 576-2215
6429 Bishop Avenue
Columbia, SC 29203

Region #4, (803) 576-1455
1019 Beatty Road
Columbia, SC 29210

Region #6, (803) 865-8011
96 Lake Carolina Blvd.
Columbia, SC 29229

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott is strongly committed to the health and welfare of all of our citizens. The Sheriff works very closely with other agencies to promote important services that will benefit all of our citizens. The Sheriff is pleased to remind citizens about “Operation Take Back Medications” that will help the citizens of Richland County properly dispose of prescription medications. This program will also protect the environment, reduce pollution and assist in the removal of harmful contaminates to our health. The program also provides a disposal opportunity as opposed to abuse opportunity that we see occurring in some of our youth.

The proper disposal of unwanted, unused or expired medications is just another significant step in the right direction to help the citizens of Richland County. Citizens will need to protect their personal information when disposing of all prescriptions. It is always important that all personal data on the label of all medications be blocked out using a black magic or other permanent type marker before disposal of prescriptions. The label on prescription bottles and packages often contain personal data, such as, but not limited to:

Patient’s Name, Patient’s Address, Type of Medication, Number of Refills Allowed, Date of the Current Refill, Doctor’s Name

In the wrong hands this data can be harmful to the person for whom the prescription was prescribed, an unauthorized user or drug abuser. Each year countless numbers of our children are victims of accidental poisoning or even death due to prescription medications improperly disposed of, or carelessly left in their reach.

Deputies assigned to Project H.O.P.E. assist citizens in Richland County with the safe disposal of all unwanted, unused or expired prescription medications. Deputies will pick-up the medications from the lock boxes at the designated locations; complete an Incident Report; file property, along with the case number; finally, transporting the medications to the Evidence Room for proper disposal.

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