Seven locations will be open across the Mississippi Coast on Saturday to take unused or unwanted prescription drugs off the street during the DEA’s National Drug Take Back Day.
Pills and medicines in solid forms will be taken with no questions asked, said Derryle Smith, resident agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency in Gulfport.
The Take Back, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is an effort with area law enforcement agencies to help deter prescription drug abuse, considered the nation’s leading drug epidemic.
Leaving unused or unwanted pills around can tempt others to steal them, or can tempt you to give them to family or friends, Smith said.
“The majority of prescription drug abusers say they get their drugs free from friends and family, including from the home medicine cabinet,” he said.
More than 40 people in Mississippi have died of a drug overdose this year, according to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. Most of the deaths were in the six southern counties and most, like national trends, involved opioids, such as pain-killers and tranquilizers.
More than 52,000 people died of a drug overdose nationwide in 2015, and more than 33,000 of the drugs were opioids, Smith said.
Pills don’t have to be an opioid to harm or kill someone who takes a medicine that’s not prescribed for them. Also, flushing unwanted drugs down the toilet or throwing them in the trash can cause safety and health problems, Smith said.
In last April’s Drug Take-Back, people around the country turned in 450 tons of prescription drugs.
Here’s the locations for Saturday’s Take-Back, and the sponsors:
- Bay St. Louis Fire Station No. 1: 543 Main Street, Bay St. Louis Police Department
- Edgewater Mall: 2600 Beach Blvd., Biloxi: DEA will have a drive-thru location behind Wendy’s on the southwest side of mall property
- Gautier Police Department: 3329 U.S. 90
- Lyman Community Center: 13742 U.S. 49, Gulfport, Harrison County Sheriff’s Department
- Long Beach Police Department: 201 Alexander Rd., Long Beach
- Pascagoula Senior Center: 1215 Live Oak Lane, Pascagoula and Moss Point police departments
- Pass Christian Library: 111 Hiern Ave., Pass Christian Police Department