The government wants your drugs.
Your expired ibuprofen, your unneeded anti depressants, your forgotten antibiotics-all are coveted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Or at least they will be on April 30, the agency's Second National Pharmaceutical Take-Back Day.
For the DEA, the event brings national attention to the growing problem of prescription drug abuse. In addition, the agency hopes to get rid of pills in medicine cabinets that otherwise might end up in the hands of curious teenagers or full-blown drug abusers.
The state health department, which is helping to publicize the event, describes it as a "pro-active measure to prevent prescription drugs from entering our recreational and drinking water sources."
In 2008, an Associated Press investigation found traces of prescription drugs from antibiotics to anti-convulsants were detectable in water supplies from New Jersey to southern California. In Denver, researchers found traces of antibiotics.
Public health experts aren't sure what risk, if any, the drug residue poses.
But most agree that people flushing unused prescriptions contributes to drug residue in the water.
The first take-back event, last September, netted 121 tons of household medications nationwide, which law enforcement officials destroyed, according to the DEA.
In Colorado, over 9,200 pounds were collected at 94 locations, according to the health department.
The DEA is inviting local law enforcement agencies to participate, and the federal agency will pay the costs of transporting and disposing of all medications collected.
For more information, visit www.dea.gov, click on the "Got Drugs?" icon, follow the links to a database, then enter a zip code to find the nearest drop-off location. That list will be updated throughout the drop-off date.
The Denver Post
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