Alaskans turned in 1,838 pounds of prescription medication during the Drug Enforcement Administration’s fifth annual National Prescription Drug Take Back event Sept. 29.

Until a safe disposal process for prescription medications is established nationwide, the DEA will continue to partner with agencies, like the Alaska State Troopers, to provide biannual Take Back Days, according to trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen.

She said partnerships with local law enforcement agencies like the Wasilla and Palmer police departments make the program possible.

“This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” Ipsen said in a press release. “Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse.”

While many people tend to think of drug abuse and drug addiction in terms of street drugs like cocaine and heroin, a 2010 “National Survey on Drug Use and Health” reports that more Americans abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet, Ipsen said.

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