Local agencies to participate in drug take back event

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A number of local law enforcement agencies are participating in the DEA's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day this weekend.

Held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, the event is intended to help curb prescription drug abuse across the country by providing a venue for residents to dispose of unwanted and unused drugs. In two previous events, about 4,000 state and local law enforcement agencies collected more than 309 tons of pills.

As of Tuesday afternoon, four local agencies were listed on the DEA's website as participants in Saturday's events: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department, 2900 University Parkway, Lawrenceville; Lawrenceville Police Department, 300 Jackson Street, Lawrenceville; Norcross Police Department, 65 Lawrenceville Street, Norcross; and Suwanee Police Department, 373 Buford Highway, Suwanee.

According to a 2009 survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, more than seven million Americans abuse prescription drugs. The Partnership for a Drug Free America estimates that 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high each day.

It's believed that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from friends and family.

Four days after last September's take back day, Congress passed legislation amending the Controlled Substances Act to allow the DEA to develop a process for people to safely dispose of their prescription drugs. The DEA immediately began developing this process after President Barack Obama signed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010.

The agency plans to hold take back events every six months until that process is complete, officials said.

For more information, visit www.justice.gov/dea. More participating agencies could be added before Saturday's event.