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April 26, 2013

Get rid of old medicines Saturday

Everybody has one. That box of old medication sitting on a shelf because no one knows what to do with it. But did you know that old drugs can actually be a danger to you and your family?

That’s why Whitfield Family Connection is joining with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) again this year for the Got Drugs? National Take Back Initiative on Saturday. Sites in Whitfield and Murray counties include Kmart on Walnut Avenue, Kroger on Cleveland Highway, Weaver’s Pharmacy in Rocky Face, Food Lion in Varnell and Bi-Lo in Chatsworth. Bring your drugs in from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. so professionals can dispose of them properly. The event is free and anonymous.

Drop-off is simple. There will be a tent set up with a container to dump medicine into and large garbage cans where you can throw away the bottles. It is also very secure. Law enforcement officers will be at every site.

People often throw drugs in the trash, or even flush them down the toilet. Both are potentially dangerous and, surprisingly, environmentally hazardous. Last year, this area collected more than 300 pounds of medicines that were then handled according to DEA guidelines.

“I’m so thankful that people brought these drugs in,” said Sgt. Barry Batchelor of the Dalton Police Department, “and that we were able to keep the medicine from going to the landfill, getting into our community’s water supply, or most of all getting into the hands of abusers who could in turn hurt our community just as much.”

The Take Back program also allows local law enforcement personnel to spend time with the citizens they protect. All of last year’s Take Back sites reported a great day of law enforcement/volunteer/community member interaction. For example, Dalton Police Officer Joe Corso was at the Kmart on Walnut Avenue site most of the day during last year’s event. He had a young couple come by to turn in their drugs and then asked him for information regarding their new baby car seat. Corso helped them with the seat and other car safety tips.

The DEA reports that during last year’s national event, Americans turned in 244 tons of prescription drugs at more than 5,200 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. In its five previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in more than two million pounds — more than 1,000 tons — of pills.  


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