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The Unending Fight Against Rx Drug Abuse

LA Department of Veterans Affairs

The DEA’s Drug Take Back is effectively the front line in the fight against the scourge of prescription drug abuse. The next one comes later this month.

Spend some time online and you’re likely to spot one of the many public service video clips from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration about their prescription drug Take Back Day. “Your unneeded medications could end up lost, stolen, or simply misused,” begins the video’s narrator, “Keep them safe. Clean them out. Take them back.”

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

The DEA began the drug “take back” in the fall of 2010. Ever since, the DEA holds the event twice each year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Now going into its 14th year, the DEA’s 25th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is set for Saturday, October 28th. That’s the word from the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office captain who oversees the drug take back in Shreveport, which takes place every spring and fall. This is far from just a community project. The DEA’s Drug Take Back is effectively the front line in the fight against the scourge of prescription drug abuse. It’s little wonder when you consider approximately 130 people die from overdoses every day in this country. That’s according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the CDC.
Captain Richard Corbett, is the director of the Sheriff’s Safety Town - one of the 4,000 locations in the country that will once again serve as a drop-off point for the drug take back.
Corbett says there are always questions from the public about what can and cannot be dropped off. “Over the years, the DEA has allowed people to actually put more in there,” explains Corbett, adding “It used to be that if it was glass, if it was liquid, if it was a needle, couldn’t bring it. The only thing now that they will not accept are needles, for obvious reasons.”
Captain Corbett urges people to tear off or mark out anything that has personal information on it, whether it be a name, address, dosage, or doctor’s name. It is a “no questions asked” event. And once all the unwanted or unneeded medications are collected the DEA hauls it off to be safely incinerated.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Corbett says they’ve had times where they collected more than a thousand pounds of unused drugs. He says this disposal prevents the drugs from being flushed down the toilet or end up in the landfill, and risk contaminating our water supply over time. “Any kind of liquid, any kind of drug, is going to make its way eventually down into our soil and it could make it into the aquifers, as well. So we don’t want that kind of contamination in the water supply.” Just to give some context on the size and scope of prescription drug abuse, the country spends nearly 80 billion dollars a year on treatments, sentencing and legal process related to crimes involving those drugs.
This latest drug take back takes place on Saturday, October 28, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. At Safety Town. It’s located at 8910 Jewella Avenue, at the west end of the Summer Grove Baptist Church parking lot. You can also drop off prescription drugs at the Caddo Sheriff’s Office takeback box at Shreveport’s Government Plaza, from 8:00 a.m. To 5:00 p.m. every weekday.

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, and a graduate of the University of Washington, Jeff began his on-air broadcasting career 33 years ago in the Black Hills of South Dakota as a general assignment reporter.