PARKERSBURG Sheriff's departments across the Mid-Ohio Valley had a successful day of preventing drugs from hitting the streets with the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday.
Officials and volunteers throughout Washington and Wood counties collected more than 500 pounds of old and unused medications.
"I believe this was one of the most successful collections we have had during one of these events," said Wood County Sheriff Jeff Sandy.
The Wood County Sheriff’s Office collected almost 400 pounds of prescription medications on Saturday during the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office reported collecting more than 100 pounds during the one-day program.
The Wood County officials collected 396 pounds of medications at seven sites throughout the county in Parkersburg, Lubeck, Mineral Wells, Vienna, Williamstown and Waverly.
Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks said the other side of the river did not collect as much as in the past.
"We received 116 pounds from seven locations in Marietta, Devola, Beverly, Barlow, Belpre, Reno and New Matamoras," Mincks said.
Officials and volunteers throughout Washington and Wood counties collected hundreds of pounds of old and unused medications as part of the National Prescription Drug Take-Back initiative on Saturday.
Wood County Sheriff Jeff Sandy said hundreds of people dropped off nearly 400 pounds of medications to the county's seven locations.
Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks said the seven collection areas in the county took in 116 pounds of medications.
During the April drug take-back event, the Wood County Sheriff's Office collected 649 pounds while the Washington County Sheriff's Office collected 248 pounds.
Mincks and Sandy said the numbers for the event might be down because both of their offices have been approved to collect expired, unwanted or unused drugs, controlled substances and other items from residents without question at any time by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which sponsors the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
"I think we are seeing a decrease in the amount we collect during the event days because we have permanent sites in both counties for people to take medications at any time," Mincks said. "Because people can drop off these things at any time, there won't be as much to collect during the special days."
It was announced on Monday that 3,742 pounds of prescription drugs were collected in West Virginia on Saturday. Totals for the amounts collected in Ohio and nationally were not available.
This was the fifth National Prescription Drug Take-Back event and involved more than 5,100 designated sites nationwide in an effort to fight prescription drug abuse and theft.
Since this movement started, more than 1.5 million pounds of medication have been moved out of circulation across the country.
During the take-back day in April, more than 4,200 state and local law enforcement partners collected a record-breaking 552,161 pounds of prescription drugs at 5,600 sites in all 50 states and U.S. territories.
The abuse of prescription drugs has been noted as the fastest-growing drug problem in America. In 2009, 16 million Americans age 12 and older had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant or sedative for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed, officials said.
"Years ago, when people broke into a home, they looked for valuables such as jewelry and electronics, and now one of the first things they look for are prescription drugs," Sandy said. "If at all possible, people need to not advertise that someone has died of an illness that could indicate the use of prescription pain medication because their homes could become a target of drug-seekers."
The next National Prescription Drug Take-Back day will be in April.