By Joe Beck -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are preparing to participate Saturday in a nationwide project aimed at voluntary disposal of expired and unused prescription drugs.
National Drug Enforcement Take-Back Day will mark the fifth time the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will be collecting prescription drugs from the public, an effort that so far has gathered 1.5 million pounds of prescription drugs from the public, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia. The office said the DEA has collected 3,600 pounds of prescription drugs from western Virginia alone since the program's inception.
The U.S. Attorney's Office and other agencies have been paying increasing attention to the abuse of prescription drugs in recent years. Law enforcement officials regard old pills that linger in medicine cabinets for months or years as posing an increased risk of illicit use.
The Virginia State Police is one of several law enforcement agencies in the Shenandoah Valley that will be participating in this year's effort. The agency will have a collection site available from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at its Culpeper headquarters at 15139 State Police Road.
The Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office plans to set up drop off boxes from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Mt. Jackson Town Hall. Deputy Keith Cowart said two other deputies will be available to help collect the pills and answer any questions.
The Frederick County Sheriff's Office and the Winchester Sheriff's Office are preparing four sites to collect prescription drugs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The sites are: Winchester Elks Lodge, 466 Front Royal Pike; Martin's Food Store, 200 Rivendell Court, Winchester; Martin's Food Store, 240 Elizabeth Drive, Stephens City, and the Frederick County and Winchester Joint Judicial Center at 5 North Kent St.
The Clarke County Sheriff's Office will be taking back unwanted prescriptions from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the John Enders Fire Company at 9 South Buckmarsh St. in Berryville.
The Warren County Sheriff's Office will be conducting "Medication Disposal Day" from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Warren Memorial Hospital Outpatient Center, 120 N. Commerce Ave. in Front Royal.
Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron said the event is one of two his agency organizes each year with the hospital. Medication disposal day is held on a different day from the national effort to make it easier for the Sheriff's Office and the hospital to coordinate their efforts, McEathron said.