There were 667 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter drugs collected in Franklin County that were taken to be destroyed following the most recent drug take back event.

The drug disposal drive, held to prevent pill abuse and theft was held Saturday, April 27, at eight locations in Franklin County.

Residents were given the opportunity to rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs at Franklin County police departments in Gerald, New Haven, Pacific, St. Clair, Sullivan, Union, and Washington. Boles Fire District Station 4 in St. Albans also participated.

The total includes drugs dropped off at those location over the past six months.

The was the sixth take back event in the county in three years. It was sponsored by the Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit, Foundations for Franklin County, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The drugs were taken into St. Louis and then transported by the DEA to a location to be destroyed.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.

Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

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.

Four days after the first event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the attorney general to accept them.

The act also allows the attorney general to authorize long-term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is drafting regulations to implement the act. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies in Franklin County and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.