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Mid-Missouri law enforcement agencies participate in National Drug Take Back event

Local law enforcement agencies across mid-Missouri are working to get unwanted prescription drugs off the streets.

The semiannual National Drug Take Back event continues Saturday with more than 5,000 collection sites across the country.

People are encouraged to drop off any expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs so they can be disposed of properly.

“To know that is not going to end up causing someone else’s death, get abused, be sold or be distributed illegally, that’s got to create a significant positive impact in the community,” said Maj. Tom Reddin with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

Reddin said more than 160 pounds of medication was dropped off at two collection sites in Boone County Friday. He said they’ll collect anywhere from 500 to 600 pounds of prescription drugs by Saturday.

“Everything from over-the-counter to the most potent pain management medications get dropped off in these boxes,” he said.

The drug take back event comes one day after President Donald Trump declared opioid addiction and abuse a public health emergency.

“We’re facing the deadliest drug crisis in American history,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said while speaking to law enforcement officials at JFK International Airport on Friday. “Never seen anything like this.”

According the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the number of opioid and heroin-related overdose deaths saw a large increase across the state in 2016.

A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said drug overdose deaths in the U.S. exceeded 60,000 in 2016, with about a third of those attributed to synthetic opioids. The report said fentanyl was to blame for the rapid increase.

ABC 17 News spoke to a diversion program manager with the Drug Enforcement Administration who said the purpose of drug take back events is to get prescription drugs out of the house to help curb abuse among teenagers and accidental poisoning in younger children.

“So we can attempt to address the glut of supply that feeds some of the abuse by simply removing it from our homes when we don’t need it anymore,” said Scott Collier.

Medications can be dropped off at collection sites Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Law enforcement officers are asking that you not drop off sharp items such as needles.

To find a collection location near you, click here.

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