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DEA collects almost 4,000 pounds of unwanted prescription drugs in Georgia

ATLANTA -- Georgians turned in almost 4,000 pounds of unwanted and expired prescription drugs during the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's recent take-back event.

The third-ever National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day was held last Saturday. At least four Gwinnett County law enforcement agencies participated and contributed to the 3,794 pounds collected statewide. That number marked an increase from the 3,500 pounds turned in during the last event in April.

Nationwide, the DEA said it collected approximately 188.5 tons of prescription drugs.

"The total number of drugs taken back in Georgia speaks volumes about the problem of unused and unneeded prescriptions, the danger they pose to the community and the community's commitment to making prescription drug about a top priority in the state," said John Comer of DEA-Atlanta.

Early last week, the Suwanee, Lawrenceville and Norcross police departments, as well as the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office, were signed up to participate in the take-back. Statistics from those individual events were not immediately available Friday.

The DEA will incinerate drugs collected in Georgia at its Decatur office Monday morning.

The federal agency's take-back events were started as a step toward a permanent process enabling people to safely and conveniently dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs. Over the span of three events since September 2010, the DEA has collected more than 498 tons -- nearly 1 million pounds -- of unwanted drugs from more than 5,000 participating sites across the country.