What do you normally do with your old, unwanted, expired prescription medications? Many simply flush them or place them in the trash – where those old pills ultimately work their way into our water supply. Well, on Friday, August 5, 2011, the Harford County Department of Community Services’ Office of Drug Control Policy participated in the third annual Public Safety Awareness Night at the Target Store in Aberdeen. The event was hosted by Harford County’s local law enforcement community. The focus of the event was to raise awareness regarding the many public safety services available to the citizens of Harford County.
Citizens visited with various law enforcement agencies to learn more about such topics as violent crime and personal safety, crime prevention, internet safety, drug abuse, home/neighborhood safety as well as fraud and identity theft.
The Harford County Task Force and the Department of Community Services’ Office of Drug Control Policy were on hand to provide citizens with an opportunity to turn in their expired, unused and unwanted prescription medicines. The Drug Take Back program aims to collect powerful drugs that while beneficial to patients, could easily fall into the wrong hands if left unattended or unused in the home. Citizens turned in pills, powders, and other solid medicines anonymously and without fear of prosecution. Subsequently authorities safely destroy the medications by incinerating them.
Nearly 210 pounds of unused or expired medications were collected.
“Harford County is taking proactive steps to deal with the problem of prescription drug abuse, keeping public safety and public health at the forefront of our mission,” stated Harford County Executive David R. Craig.
Since 2010, ODCP and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office have partnered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and have sponsored numerous Prescription Drug Take Back programs. More than 2,000 pounds of unused medication have been turned in and destroyed in an environmentally safe way since inception of the program.
The “Drug Take Back” program is one of the varied activities the Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP) is undertaking to bring awareness to the issues at hand. ODCP recently worked with the Harford County Task Force to set up a communication system whereby pharmacies in Harford County receive notifications from law enforcement of individuals passing forged prescriptions or who are linked to criminal activities involving prescription drugs.
Additionally, in May, ODCP partnered with Upper Chesapeake Health to make community presentations concerning prescription overdose patients who are taken to local emergency rooms for treatment. In June, ODCP held a symposium to address drug and alcohol issues in Harford County. The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy participated in the daylong symposium.
ODCP works with faith based, not profit organizations, and PTAs to address the dangers related to prescription medicines and the need to safely secure medicines. ODCP monitors overdoses deaths as reported by the medical examiner’s office involving Harford County residents. The upward trend over the past 5 years is a reflection of what is happening on the national scene.
For more information on the Prescription Drug Take Back program, contact the Harford County Department of Community Services’ Office of Drug Control Policy at 410-638-3333.
- Harford’s Third Annual Public Safety Awareness Night
- Harford County Bike Rodeo this Friday
- Harford Drug Take Back Station at Public Safety Awareness Night this Friday
- Harford Co. celebrates ‘National Night Out’, Tuesday, August 2