Where to turn in your prescription drugs in Lake, Geauga counties

Public safety agencies around Northeast Ohio are taking part in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 28.

Among them is the Geauga County Sheriff’s Office, which issued a news release April 9 about the event and its importance.

“Prescription drug overdose is a serious public health crisis in Ohio,” the GCSO release reads. “Leftover medication presents a serous diversion risk that can ultimately lead to addiction, particularly among young Ohioans.”

Citing a recent survey by the Ohio Department of Health, the Geauga County Sheriff’s Office reports more than one in five (21 percent) of Ohio high school students reported using a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription one or more time during their lives.

The agency also reports that, since 2002, “Prescription medications, such as opioid pain relievers and benzodiazepines, have contributed to the deaths of more than 9,000 Ohioans.”

The April 28 event is a chance for area residents to responsibly rid their homes of the kinds of threats unwanted prescription medications present, said Geauga County Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand.

“This will be an excellent opportunity for Geauga County residents to safely dispose of these unwanted items,” the sheriff said.

The Geauga County Sheriff’s Office will operate a disposal station at its Claridon Township headquarters: 12450 Merritt Road, along with those at a number of other public safety agencies throughout the county, including the Chardon Police Department111 Water St.Chester Township Police Department12696 Opalocka DriveMiddlefield Police Department14860 N. State Ave. and the Russell Township Police Department14820 Chillicothe Road.

The Lake County Narcotics Agency, which also worked in conjunction with the DEA to establish a number of sites, reports drop-offs are planned at the Kirtland Hills Police Department8026 Chillicothe RoadLake County Crime Laboratory235 Fairgrounds Road, Painesville Township; the Mentor-on-the-Lake Police Department5860 Andrews Road; the North Perry Village Police Department3758 Center RoadTriPoint Medical Center7590 Auburn Road, Concord Township, and the Willowick Police Department30435 Lake Shore Blvd.

According to the DEA’s website as of April 10, two other Northeast Ohio dropoffs are the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office25 W. Jefferson St., Jefferson, and the Gates Mills Police Department1470 Chagrin River Road.

“The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue,” reads the DEA’s Take Back Day web page. “According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.”

The agency reports that its Take Back Day events, which have happened twice a year since 2004, provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths with their no-questions-asked drug-disposal opportunities.

Lake County Narcotics Agency Director David Frisone agreed.

“I can tell you that, right now, across the state of Ohio — and probably across the nation — that police departments are taking reports from people that have had their medications stolen,” he said. “We want to prevent these expired/discarded/unused pharmaceuticals from winding up in the wrong hands, including someone who breaks into your house and steals them, a friend or a family member with back pain who thinks it’s OK to (self-medicate) and juveniles who might want to grab them (to use to get high).”

Like the Geauga County Sheriff’s Office, which has a secure unwanted prescription medication drop box in its lobby, Frisone said the Lake County Narcotics Agency has eight locations throughout the county where citizens may dispose of expired, unused and unwanted prescription medication.

They are at: the Eastlake Police DepartmentLake County Sheriff’s OfficeLakeland Community CollegeMadison Township Police DepartmentMentor Police Department, Mentor-on-the-Lake Police Department, Willoughby Police Department and Willoughby Hills Police Department.

Published by The News-Herald

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