Crime & Courts

Drop off your unused or expired drugs Saturday at Richland sheriff headquarters

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department will again partner with federal authorities to allow people to dispose of unwanted, unused and expired medication that can be abused.

The National Take Back Initiative allows residents to drop off over-the-counter and prescription medications to be properly disposed of. Dropoff sites are available at most of the Sheriff’s Department’s regional offices, but deputies will host a disposal site Saturday at the headquarters, 5623 Two Notch Road.

The recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 70 percent of people who abuse prescription pain relievers say they get them from friends or family members. Sheriff Leon Lott said it is crucial to educate children and teenagers about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, and that each day an estimated 2,500 teens abuse a prescription pain killer for the first time.

In the Midlands, prescription drug abuse ranks second only to alcohol abuse, surpassing both tobacco and marijuana use, according to the Sheriff’s Department. Officials say that improperly disposing of medications in the trash or by flushing them can lead to environmental pollution.

Deputies will be accepting medications at the Sheriff’s Department headquarters from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Anyone dropping off medication is asked to block out any personal or identifying information on the bottle using a permanent marker.

Medications also may be dropped off yearround at any of six sheriff’s regional offices across the county. For more information, call headquarters at (803) 576-3000.