National Drug Take Back Day strives to keep unwanted narcotics out of the wrong hands

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — More than 100,000 Americans died in 2021 alone from drug overdoses according to the National Safety Council. Of these deaths, 92 percent of these deaths were listed as preventable. 

To prevent accidental overdoses, the DEA’s Drug Take Back Day aims to keep narcotics from falling in the wrong hands.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had an increase in overdose deaths not just in our state but in the nation,” said Lt. Tom Amaro of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. “We want to make sure that we collect it and it’s not available for someone to abuse.”

According to DHEC, South Carolina’s number of drug overdose deaths in 2021 was more than 2,100. This number represents an increase of 25 percent from the year before. 

To keep prescription drugs from being abused, this Saturday’s DEA Drug Take Back Day aims to take unwanted narcotics off of your hands. 

“It’s just a good opportunity to get things out of our cabinets so we can prevent the risk of substance misuse and poisoning,” said Emma Kennedy, DHEC Injury & Substance Abuse Prevention director.

At the DEA’s website, you can find places in your area that are accepting unwanted drugs on Saturday between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm. Drop off locations include your local police department or sheriff’s office.

“If you come in, come to our back parking lot,” Lt. Amaro said. “Our people will collect the narcotics or any drugs that you may have that are laying around.”

“This is important because 50 percent of abuse prescription drugs come from family and friends according to the DEA,” Kennedy said. “Properly disposing of these meds is a way we can prevent prescription drug misuse.”

The DEA reports than more than 8,000 tons of drugs have been collected since the Take Back Day began. 

“They take capsules and tablets but liquids and syringes aren’t accepted. You can go to the DHEC website and it has website locations to drop off syringes,” Kennedy said. “They’ll also collect vapes but you have to remove the lithium battery before you drop them off.”

If you miss Drug Take Back Day, certain locations have places to drop off unused narcotics year-round, such as the Richland County Sheriff’s Office. 

You can see a list of drop off locations here.

Categories: Local News, Richland