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Hundreds of drugs tossed at Rx Take Back
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Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir and Karen Winkelman from the Barton County Health Department dispose of a bag of unwanted pills dropped off Saturday during Drug Take Back Day. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

More than 150 area residents stopped outside the Barton County Courthouse on Saturday to dispose of unwanted pills, Sheriff Brian Bellendir said.
The Barton County Sheriff’s Office and Hoisington Police Department worked with the Barton County Health Department to take part in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, an annual event coordinated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“We’ve done it for the last two years,” Bellendir said, adding he expects it will be offered again in 2018. Law enforcement agencies must have DEA approval to collect the items, which are then mailed to a secure disposal site.
The sponsors collected unwanted medication — including prescription and nonprescription drugs. That keeps them out of the hands of potential abusers and out of landfills. Although sharps and liquids aren’t accepted by the DEA, Bellendir noted that the local sites did accept those items as well.
Last year’s National Rx Take Back brought in a record 893,498 pounds of unwanted medicines, according to the DEA. The growing popularity of the event demonstrates the value of the service.
“These results show that more Americans than ever are taking the important step of cleaning out their medicine cabinets and making homes safe from potential prescription drug abuse or theft,” said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “Unwanted, expired or unused prescription medications are often an unintended catalyst for addiction. Take-Back events like these raise awareness of the opioid epidemic and offer the public a safe and anonymous way to help prevent substance abuse.”