The public can clean out their medicine cabinets this weekend and participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, on Saturday, Sept. 24, when they can drop off unwanted and unused prescription or over-the-counter medications at a number of area police agencies, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Collections are held twice a year and, according to the DEA, since Sept. 2010, nearly 4 million pounds of drugs have been collected nationally through the program.
“It’s good for the community,” said Selbyville Police Chief Scott Collins. “It’s a good service to provide — especially if you look at the number of elderly people in our community. It’s an easy way for them to get rid of excess drugs or the drugs they no longer use.”
Collins, whose department usually collects between 45 and 55 pounds of prescription drugs, said it’s a safe way for households to get rid of medications without potentially damaging the environment or having them misused.
“What we were seeing is young people and others having a lot of access to narcotics that were being prescribed to other family members. Sometimes it was for abuse, and sometimes it was younger family members just seeing what the other family members had,” he said of family members using others’ prescriptions.
“Instead of them being shoved into a closet and being forgotten or a medicine cabinet, and not being kept track of,” he said, “this way they know where they go and are disposed of in the appropriate manner.”
Collins said that those who participate may simply put the medications in a plastic bag and drop them off at the department on Saturday. Or, if they are unable to make the take-back event, the medications may be dropped off at the department at another time.
“They can drop them off at any time,” he said. “It’s no-questions-asked. We just drop in a biohazard bag and store them until the next drug take-back.”
The Ocean View Police Department does something similar, as it has a box in the Wallace A. Melson Municipal building’s lobby, allowing people to drop off drugs at any time. Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin said the program has served the community well, and he believes it has had a positive impact on keeping prescription medications off the streets.
“We’ve had that box in place for over two years,” said McLaughlin. “It has worked very well. We collect annually probably about 200 pounds of unused prescription medications.”