National Take Back Day sees local efforts

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Updated: 10/27/2013 9:42 am

COLONIE, N.Y. - People throughout the country were asked to empty out their medicine cabinets Saturday as part of "National Take Back Day" where people could get rid of their unwanted or unused prescription drugs.

The DEA and local police departments teamed up in an effort to get these potentially dangerous controlled substances off the streets. 

The Colonie Police Department was one of the many locations across the Capital Region where people can drop off their unwanted prescription drugs and they are dropping them off by the bagful.

"Just drop the whole thing in there you don't even have to take it out of the bag"

Police say people are helping out law enforcement by getting these potentially dangerous drugs out of the wrong hands.

"They're not there or readily available for children or friends in the house or relatives that may have some type of an addiction and start looking for those prescribed medications," said one Colonie cop. 

John Carman of Nassau made a stop to the Schodak Police Department on Saturday. 

"I put them all in a plastic bag but there's probably ten to twelve different meds in there," continued Carman, "I have a lot of nieces and nephews and i wouldnt want them to get their hands on them. I figured this is the safest and quickest way to dispose of them."

Officials say prescription drug abuse has become an increasing problem in our area. Last year Governor Cuomo signed the New York's new I-STOP Initiative, enabling the state to track controlled substances, requiring pharmacies to report prescription information to a monitoring system.

But, law makers are not stopping there. Senator Charles Schumer last month urged the DEA to change its regulations when it comes to prescription take back programs.

Currently, the DEA has the authority to organize these events, which officials say are infrequent and inconvenient. Senator Schumer is pushing the DEA to change its policy and have take back or buy back programs at local pharmacies and qualified anti-drug abuse organizations.

About 250 drop-off sites across the State participated in Saturday's take back event. During the DEA's last take back event in April, about 370 tons of prescription medications were collected across the country.

Once the drugs are collected they will be boxed up like the ones right here and the DEA will then take them to a facility to have them incinerated. 

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