Residents dispose of 120 pounds of medications

The Madera County Sheriff’s Office Substation in Oakhurst was one of more than 5,000 collection sites around the country that took back unused, unwanted and expired prescription medications on April 30.

Madera County Sheriff’s Office Citizens on Patrol volunteers Mike and Joyce Decker were at the substation from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. April 30, to assist around 30 Mountain Area residents in disposing of their unwanted medications and outdated vitamins.

This year, about 120 pounds of prescription medications was collected in Oakhurst with another 50 pounds turned in at the sheriff’s office in Madera.

According to the DEA, in the previous 10 take-back events, approximately 302,427 pounds or 151 tons of unused medication were collected from Northern California and Central Valley residents.

In the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health, America is presently experiencing an epidemic of addiction, overdose, and death due to abuse of prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers. The survey said 6.5 million Americans abuse prescription drugs - more abuse than cocaine, heroin, and hallucinogens combined.

“The abuse of prescription drugs is America’s fastest-growing drug problem, and too many people are dying or being seriously injured for the misuse of such drugs,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner stated. “Young people are particularly at risk. Since most people who abuse prescription drugs say that they get them from family members or friends, it is imperative that we all take steps to dispose of unwanted drugs.”

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, eclipsing deaths from motor vehicle crashes or firearms. The removal from homes of unwanted prescription pills that can be abused, stolen or resold is an easy way to help fight the epidemic of substance abuse and addiction.

Year-round disposal

The Oakhurst sheriff’s substation now has a medication disposal drop box in the lobby where people can discard their outdated or unused medications 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Details: Oakhurst sheriff’s substation, 48267 Liberty Drive, (559) 642-3201.

Staff report