LA PLATA, Md. (Aug. 26, 2016)—Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford today joined Charles County Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy at the County Government building in La Plata, to announce the first comprehensive pharmacy "drug take-back" program in the state of Maryland. Lt. Governor Rutherford also announced a $20,215 state grant to support the program.
The goals of the Drug Take-Back Program—a partnership between Charles County and local pharmacies, the State of Maryland, and University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center—are to avoid the stockpiling of medications, including ointments, patches, needles, and capsules, in the home; to keep children and water systems safe; and to avoid drugs getting into the hands of addicts.
"Charles County, like other jurisdictions, has unfortunately experienced a dramatic rise in drug-related deaths as the county's population continues to grow steadily," said Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy. "County residents will benefit from having free, convenient, and secure collection points located throughout the county to dispose of over-the-counter or prescription medications."
Until now, Charles County residents could dispose of unneeded prescription medications at yearly medication disposal events hosted by the Maryland State Police or at the Charles County Sheriff's Offices existing two medication drop-off sites. Although helpful, this type of infrequent disposal can encourage the practice of stockpiling medications in the home, which provides more opportunities for them to be used either intentionally or accidentally in risky and illegal ways—or disposed of improperly.
"In Spring 2015, leaders from across Maryland met in Southern Maryland to hear from citizens affected by the heroin and opioid epidemic, as part of our Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force regional meetings, which I had the great honor of leading," said Lt. Governor Rutherford. "I am pleased to be back in Charles County today, to help announce additional tools in our statewide fight against the heroin epidemic."
The Drug Take Back Program builds on the Maryland State Police and the Charles County Sheriff's Office's existing efforts. Under the new program, MedSafe receptacles will be available in six independent pharmacies throughout the county. For a list of participating pharmacies visit, www.CharlesCountyMD.gov.
"The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has found that drug take-back programs are critical to public safety and public health," said Glenn Fueston, executive director of the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention, which administers the grant. "The DEA found that eight out of 10 new heroin users began by abusing prescription painkillers, and moved to heroin when they could no longer obtain or afford those painkillers. This program will help to decrease the number of drug-related crimes and illnesses by reducing accessibility to old, outdated drugs."