Police departments accepting expired meds from the public
Expired medicines may lose their punch against aches and pains, but that doesn't stop drug abusers from scrounging for them in medicine cabinets.
That's why police departments in Yuma and San Luis, Ariz., are taking part with the Drug Enforcement Administration in a national campaign on April 28 to encourage people to turn in prescription drugs that have expired or are no longer needed.
As part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, area residents can turn in medicine between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. that day in the parking lot of the Yuma Police Department, 1500 S. 1st Ave., and in the San Luis police parking lot, 1030 E. Union St.
For those who can't stop by that day, Yuma police maintain a drop box in the lobby of the police department station where residents can leave medication, no questions asked, any time of day or night, YPD spokesman Sgt. Clint Norred said.
Recent years have since an increase around the United States in abuse of powerful prescription medicines, according to law enforcement officials.
“We need our community to get involved and help us stop this type of growing trend of drug abuse,” San Luis Police Chief Eddie Munoz said in a news release. “Together we can help keep our youth drug free and alive by disposing of all unused medications kept at home.”
The problem of abuse of medication, said Norred, is limited not just to youths searching through the medicine cabinets looking from drugs that can give them a high. It includes adults who have become addicted to drugs they once took for a medical condition, or who resort to the meds if they can't get illegal drugs.
It might occur to some people to flush expired medication down the toilet, but Kathy Carroll, water treatment manager for the city of Yuma, asks that they refrain from doing that, for the sake of the environment.
“We love the police department's program; it's a real benefit to our environment,” Carroll said. “Pharmaceuticals flushed down the toilet or drain tend to pass straight through water treatment plants; they don't get treated and they don't break down. Drug disposal through the police department's program prevents that from happening. They collect them and take them to disposal sites where they are destroyed, preventing any problem with water.”