Shoppers turn in 326 pounds of pills, police say helps with overdose epidemic

Prescription drug abuse is one of the largest epidemics in the country right now, according the Center for Disease Control. Starting in 2010, more people died from prescription overdoses than car crashes in the United States.

Many people turned in their old or unused pills to have them properly thrown out. In honor of prescription Drug Take Back day, Paducah police stationed at the Kentucky Oaks Mall and picked up 326 pounds of pills.

Mike Underwood and Margaret Grueninger are saying out with the old, knowing their medicine has served its purpose and can no longer help them. They wanted to properly dispose it Saturday.

“You can’t flush it,” Underwood said. “You certainly don’t want it to get into the water stream.” Grueninger knew it wasn’t right to just through away her medicine from 2012 and 2013.

That’s good news for Edwin Albritton, a pharmacist at Davis Drugs in Lone Oak.

He told me the typical shelf life of prescription medication is a year. He says keep drugs out of reach from others, don’t share, and get rid of any leftover pills. He thinks the problem is that many “don’t want to think they’re throwing away dollars and cents, not thinking about possibly their health or the safety of others.”

The safety of others is something Paducah Police detective John Tollver thinks about every day. He’s counting on these drop-offs to cut down on the abuse. “Once you have an addition, you’re going to do whatever it takes to get a fix,” Tollver added.

Underwood feels better getting the pain pills out of his home, but says if he ever need more he would go to the doctor.

Most police and sheriff’s department have drop off locations in their lobbies. Our state agencies also collect any unused and leftover medication. 

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