Linn County Hosts Drug Take-Back Event

By Brady Smith, Reporter

LINN COUNTY, Iowa - Safe, easy, and anonymous.

The Linn County Sheriff's Office set up drop boxes in Cedar Rapids, Ely and Center Point on Saturday, giving people the chance to dispose of unused prescription drugs.

"A lot of abusers of prescription drugs are actually getting them from friends, family, medicine cabinets at home," said Major Gerald Hansel

Maj. Hansel said events like this are important, because people who have prescription painkillers and other potentially-dangerous drugs in their homes often hang onto them. This gives them a chance to dispose of them properly.

"Every 14 minutes, there's a drug overdose in the United States, and unfortunately, those are children who have obtained prescription drugs from the medicine cabinets or wherever," Hansel explained.

A 2011 national survey said twice as many Americans regularly abused prescription drugs, than the number of those who abused cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined. That same study said nearly three-quarters of abusers got the drugs from friends or relatives.

After the take-back event is over, Hansel said the drugs go to the Drug Enforcement Administration to be destroyed. If you didn't make this event, there's always a permanent drop-off bin outside the Linn County Sheriff's headquarters, which is emptied daily.

"We provide the different locations and the staffing as well. [The DEA] actually provide the supplies needed and everything else, and then they'll take care of disposing of the drugs after the event," Hansel said.

He added that the best way to keep prescription drugs out of the wrong hands is to keep them out of reach or to lock them up.
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