Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Take-Back Drug Initiative

     In recent years the criminal justice field has witnessed the development and growth of several new drugs in neighborhoods across the country. With individuals abusing new substances comes new issues and challenges for law enforcement officials to face, and in many of these situations there is a need for new and creative solutions. One such current issue, and probably the most notorious by now, criminal justice officials are facing today is the abuse of prescription drugs especially among adolescents and teenagers. The abuse of prescription drugs in America has grown to such a point to where it now claims more life than abuse of illegal drugs. Law enforcement agencies across the country, both local and federal, have been taking several different approaches over the last couple of years in attempts to combat the spread of prescription drug abuse but are facing difficulty. One of the major sources of prescription drugs for teens and young adults is friends and family members who have current of leftover prescriptions in easily accessible areas. Aside from the accessibility of prescription drugs agencies are also facing the issue of how easily such drugs are concealed.

          A solution to this issue can be thought of as simply as for any other drug issue, solve the problem by figuring our a way to and then implementing it to get the drugs off the street. The issue is much more complicated than simply taking the drugs off the street because so many Americans rely on them for health benefits when used correctly. A more reasonable goal for prescription drug abuse is to get the excessive amount of them off of the street. The DEA has already made attempts at going after pharmaceutical companies who distribute what they determine to be excessive amounts of drugs that are known to be abused, but this faces issues in and of itself. Many of the companies producing the drugs are only filling orders which are established through the amount of prescriptions written by doctors. Going after the companies as a whole may lead to innocent patients being denied their medication. So what else is left, go after the doctors who are writing the prescriptions? Even considering that possibility for a few minutes one can understand the extreme cost such an investigation would incur. 

Evidence gathered after a Prescription Drug raid in 2009

A solution the DEA has come up with that I recently read about and took a liking to is the Take-Back Drug Initiative. This year is actually the fourth year that the DEA will be sponsoring the event which includes the agency teaming up with pharmacies and police departments across the country to get prescription drugs off of the streets. This year the event is being held on April 28 in varying locations depending on sites local agencies. The event allows individuals to anonymously turn in expired, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs to local authorities to be properly disposed of. The service is free with the only restriction being they will not take new or used needles, all pill and liquid medications will be accepted however. The initiative has shown great success the last couple of years, with Americans turning in 188.5 tons of prescription drugs during last years event alone. 

I personally really like this solution to the problem of prescription drug abuse, my only issue is that it only occurs one day a year for a few hours. This initiative successfully gets large amounts of prescription drugs off of the street which is the best way outside of education that we can prevent deaths of our nations youths caused by prescription drug overdose. Locally the Normal Police Department and the McLean County Sheriffs will both be participating in this event at their respective departments. I'll provide a link to the search site to find all available locations for those of you interested in finding other locations. 


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