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"Take Back" Unwanted Prescription Drugs to Santa Monica Police  

As of September 1, 2011, ALL 1,875 retail establishments are prohibited from providing light-weight, single-use plastic carryout bags to customers at the point of sale. MORE

By Lookout Staff

October 20, 2011 -- If you have outdated prescription medications cluttering up your medicine chest, you might be an unwitting accomplice to a friend or child's accidental overdose.

That's just one reason why the Santa Monica Police Department is sponsoring a “Take Back” event next week, at which residents can drop off old, outdated and unwanted prescription drugs, no questions asked.

“A majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet,” police say. “In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.”

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, October 29, officers will be available at the curb of Santa Monica Police Department headquarters at 333 Olympic Drive where they'll accept your unused prescription drugs. The service is free and you will remain anonymous.

Police departments throughout the nation and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) are partnering to hold these events because expired drugs in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, police say, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses.

Last April, Americans turned in 376,593 pounds—188 tons—of prescription drugs at nearly 5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement partners.

Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 just days after the first national “Take Back” event. The new law will allow prescription drug users – including long term facilities – to legally dispose of their unwanted medications by delivering them to entities authorized by the U. S. Attorney General. The law's regulations are still being drafted, so until they are completed, law enforcement agencies like the Santa Monica Police Department and the DEA will continue to hold “Take Back” events.

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