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LEE, Miss. (Press Release) — On April 25th  beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 4:30 p.m., the Lee County Sheriff’s Department, in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and in recognition of Red Ribbon celebrations, will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

Bring your medications for disposal to the Lee County Sheriff’s Department at 510 N. Commerce Street, Tupelo, MS. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

On April 24, 2013, the Lee County Sheriff’s Department collected 100 lbs of unused, unwanted, and expired prescription drugs.

Over the past three years, Americans turned in more than 2 million pounds (1,018 tons) of prescription drugs at nearly 5,263 sites operated by the DEA.

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 U.S. 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 2010 Take Back 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 has begun drafting regulations to implement the Act, a process that can take as long as 24 months. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like the Lee County Sheriff Department and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.

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