Several area police departments are partnering with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to properly dispose of unwanted prescription drugs Saturday as part of a nationwide drug take-back initiative.
The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications, according to a DEA statement.
Lewisville police Capt. Jay Powell said he likes that the program gives people a means for disposal of expired or unneeded prescription medications.
“In my opinion, this helps reduce the risk of both abuse and accidental ingestion,” Powell said.
Lewisville police are partnering with the Lewisville school district to collect unused medications in the parking lot of Lewisville High School, 1098 W. Main St.
Powell said the prescription drug abuse rate is alarmingly high and by removing such drugs from homes, the public helps prevent experimentation, addiction, overdose and potential deaths.
With more than 10 Denton County agencies participating, officials hope to not only remove several pounds of drugs from the streets, but also keep them out of the water supply.
According to a newsletter put out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, flushing drugs has raised some environmental concerns because trace levels of drug residues have been found in rivers and lakes and in some community drinking water supplies across the United States. However, the newsletter also stated that the main way drug residues enter water systems is by people taking medications.
“Each pill that is turned in is one that neither ends up in the water supply nor is diverted from its intended purpose and sold, bought or used by a person that it was not prescribed to,” Argyle Police Chief William Tackett said.
While the Argyle department is not hosting a take-back event Saturday, Tackett said, there is a disposal system located in the lobby of the city jail, 506 U.S. Highway 377 in Argyle, which is open to the public Monday through Friday.
He said the department collects an average of 50 to 60 pounds of unused medications every three months.
Denton police also offer a daily drop-off in their department’s lobby, at 601. E Hickory St. Residents are to leave items in their original containers and block out all personal information.
Items accepted include prescription medications of any kind, over-the-counter medications of any kind, pet medications, as well as vitamin and herbal supplements.
Nicole Rodriguez, spokeswoman for Carrollton police, said officers will be accepting items from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the rear drive of the police station, at 2025 E. Jackson Road.
“You can bring the drugs in their original containers and just drive by and drop them in a disposal box,” Rodriguez said. “They are sealed and delivered to the DEA the same day for destruction.”
Other participating agencies in the county include The Colony, Roanoke, Little Elm, Flower Mound, Krum, Highland Village and Trophy Club police departments. To find a collection site near you, call 1-800-882-9539.
The program is anonymous and free to the public, officials said.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.