Prescription drugs that are no longer needed can be brought to the Lonoke Police Department for proper disposal, Chief of Police Mike Wilson said last week.

Wilson was responding to queries of his department’s participation in the national Drug Take-Back Day held Oct. 26.

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is promoted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of unused, outdated or otherwise unneeded prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and to warn about the potential abuse of prescription medications. Drug Take-Back events are scheduled twice a year.

"We don’t have a drop box, but we still make sure the medications are taken care of," Wilson said. "People have always brought prescriptions to us when they don’t need them any more."

"What we did was kept [medications] in the evidence locker until there was a take-back and then we’d put them in to get rid of them," Wilson said. "Now that the sheriff has a drop box, we’ll take them up there if anyone brings any to us. We’ll be glad to do that."

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is a response the to the increasing problem of abuse of prescription drugs and medications. According to a 2011 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, twice as many Americans regularly abused prescription drugs than total number of those who regularly use cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants.

That study also found that more than 70 percent of abusers obtained the drugs by "raiding" family medicine cabinets.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also recommends taking advantage of the drug take-back programs and law enforcement drop boxes to properly and safely dispose of prescription drugs to prevent abuse. However, for identity protection and privacy be sure to scratch out all identifying information on the prescription label to make it unreadable; or place the medications in a plastic bag and then destroy the label.

Anyone who wishes to bring un-needed prescriptions to the Lonoke Police Department are welcome to do so, Wilson said.

Editor’s note: remarks by Lonoke Chief of Police Mike Wilson were inadvertently left out of the Drug Take-Back Day article published Oct. 23.