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County offers prescription drug buyback program

The Dakota County Sheriff's Office, in cooperation with sheriffs from Anoka, Hennepin, Ramsey, Sherburne, and Washington counties, has partnered with the Drug Enforcement Administration to sponsor a new prescription drug take-back day.

The take-back event in Minnesota is part of a nationwide program hosted by the DEA and local law enforcement agencies. The take-back is scheduled to take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 across the six Minnesota counties.

The Dakota County Sheriff has partnered with the Burnsville, Hastings, and West St. Paul Police departments to host three sites where citizens can drop off expired or unused prescription medications. Dakota County Sheriff Dave Bellows strongly supports the take-back program noting that next to marijuana, prescription medications are the most commonly abused drug by Americans, according to the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Seven of the 10 drugs most commonly abused by teenagers are prescription medications. Teens abuse prescription drugs because they believe the myth the drugs provide a medically safe high.

"Every day in America 2,500 youth ages 12 to 17 abuse a pain reliever for the very first time," said county attorney James Backstrom. "Most of these youth obtain these from a relative or friend. You can take immediate steps to limit access to these drugs and help keep your teen drug free."

The three sites are in the following locations:

• Burnsville City Hall and Police Department, 100 Civic Center Parkway, Burnsville.

• Hastings Government Center, 1580 Highway 55, Hastings.

• Dakota County Northern Service Center, One Mendota Road, West St. Paul.