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Got drugs? Dump them on Oct. 29

A Dump the Drugs event will be on Oct. 29 in Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, Dewey and Black Canyon City.

Prescription drug abuse is at epidemic proportions. MATFORCE and area law enforcement are joining with the National Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign to gather and safely dispose of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medication in three Verde Valley locations.

MATFORCE is helping sponsor the event as part of its "Prescription Drug Abuse: Who's Counting?" campaign. Counting the numbers of deaths is alarming as drug overdose is now the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Prescription pain-killers result in more accidental drug overdoses than cocaine and heroin combined. According to the Center for Disease Control, abuse of these medications accounts for almost two times more drug deaths than cocaine and almost six times more than heroin.

Collecting unwanted medication will help keep potentially dangerous drugs out of the wrong hands. Safe disposal also keeps drugs from being improperly disposed of and getting into the water systems. Over the past three years, MATFORCE's bi-annual Dump the Drugs events have collected and counted 5,000 pounds of unwanted medication.

Sheila Polk, Yavapai County attorney and MATFORCE co-chair, said, "One out of every four 10th- and 12th-grade students in our county has reported abusing prescription pain killers. It is especially important for parents and caregivers to safeguard their medications. Proper disposal not only keeps the drugs out of the hands of teens, but it gives a strong message to our youth about the danger of misuse."

All too often a story is heard about a young adult taking pain-killers and mixing them with alcohol. Without understanding why, the youth gets sleepy, falls asleep and never wakes up. The drugs, especially mixed with alcohol, can slow the respiratory system down until it stops completely.

Polk said, "Sadly, we have counted eight similar stories in our county during this past year. MATFORCE's Prescription Drug Abuse Campaign 'Who's Counting?' hopes that we can count on all citizens to bring unwanted medication for safe disposal. Proper disposal gives everyone a chance to help build a healthier, drug-free community and save lives."

Prescription and over-the-counter medications can be dropped off between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the following locations: Prescott Police Department, 222 S. Marina; Prescott Valley Police Department, 7601 E. Civic Circle; Chino Valley Police Department, 1020 W. Palomino Road; Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Dewey/Humboldt Substation, 2735 S. Highway 69, Unit #7, Dewey; and Black Canyon City Substation, 34825 Velda Rose, Black Canyon City.

MATFORCE encourages residents to look through their medicine cabinets for expired or unwanted medication and bring it to one of the drop-off locations. For more information, call 928-708-0100 or visit the MATFORCE website at matforce.org.

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