By WAYNE ALLEN
PDT Staff Writer
The Portsmouth Police Department along with several community partners collected about 500 pounds of unused and unwanted pharmaceuticals on Saturday as a part of National Drug Take Back Day. That’s a dramatic increase from the last Take Back event in April, at which 85 pounds of unwanted medication was collected.
“We are very excited about the response we’ve received thus far,” Portsmouth Police Chief Charles Horner said. “We are looking at having permanent drop boxes say at your local police department or the sheriffs office. It would be a locked container where on a regular basis it would be picked up by the DEA and destroyed. This would provide the opportunity everyday for people to dispose of drugs rather than twice a year.”
Saturday’s event was designed to give people the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
According to the Portsmouth Police Department, Americans in April turned in 376,593 pounds — 188 tons — of prescription drugs at nearly 5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement partners.
Doug Edwards, chief investigator with the Ohio Medical Board, came from Columbus to help with Saturday’s event.
“I have several of my investigators working in other counties at their Drug Take Back Day,” Edwards said. “I think there is concern among our older population because they may have a lot of drugs they don’t use and are just sitting around. There is a fear that if someone knows they have those drugs, someone may try to take them from them. Events like today provide a way for people to dispose of their unwanted drugs.”
Horner said all of the drugs collected will be delivered to the DEA to be destroyed.
Partners in the event included the Portsmouth Health Department, State Medical Board of Ohio, Scioto County Rx Drug Action Team, SOLACE, the Portsmouth High School, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).