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North Canton Police Team With DEA to Take Unwanted Prescription Pills Out of Homes

The North Canton Police Department will take part in this year's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday

If you’ve got unwanted prescriptions lying around the house, North Canton police want to see you Saturday.

They ask that you bring those unused prescriptions to the between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to be disposed of during “Operation: Medicine Cabinet.” The program is the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

“If somebody has the intent or will to misuse drugs, and they’re readily available, they’re going to do that,” said Michael Wurgler, acting police chief at the North Canton Police Department. “The idea of the program is to get those unused drugs out of there so there won’t be an opportunity for these individuals to abuse them.”

(Drug overdose now is the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio. That’s even higher than car crashes and suicide. And health officials have linked prescription pill addiction to deadly addictions such as heroin.)

It’s the second year the department has participated in the national initiative, and Wurgler expects this year to go off much like last year — without a hitch.

He said a steady stream of people came through the department’s lobby to drop off prescriptions last year.

Wurgler wants to remind everyone the event is for prescription pills only and they should peel off or black out the label on the prescription bottle before they come Saturday.

He said North Canton received some recognition from the DEA for its recycling of the prescription pill bottles. Those bottles typically aren’t accepted at local recycling facilities, but the department dropped them off at Mercy Medical Center, which handled the recycling.

Last year’s take-back day occurred in September, and officials collected more than 9,000 pounds of unwanted or expired medications.  Northeast Ohio was one of the top five collection events in the nation, according to a news release from Drug Awareness and Prevention Inc., a nonprofit that tries to lessen the demand for illicit street drugs through education and proactive prevention programs.

After the medications are collected, they will be weighed by the Drug Enforcement Administration before they are destroyed.

The event offers a much safer alternative to dispose of drugs than flushing them down the toilet, said Scott Broski, Manager of Water Quality & Industrial Surveillance for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, in the news release.

"If you flush them down the drain or toilet, some of the pharmaceuticals will be discharged into the lake or river because the wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove or destroy pharmaceuticals from wastewater. The resulting environmental issues could be as varied and diverse as the number of medications in use."

Find a full list of Stark County locations in the PDFs section of this update.

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