Concerns are raised that the large number of collected items may be the result of pharmaceutical companies disposing their outdated products.
In an effort to give residents a safe place to dispose unwanted prescription drugs as well as bio-hazardous used or new hypodermic needles and illegal drugs, the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station installed three mailbox-type receptacles earlier this year. The “Drug Drop-Off” program began in the early fall by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. One of the receptacles is for used needles, one for illegal drugs and one for unneeded prescription drugs.
During a recent meeting of the CV Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition parents touted the program as a pro-active way of disposing drugs and keeping them out of the storm drains as well as possibly out of the hands of teens.
The program has been very successful. As of Jan. 1 the sheriff’s station through the Drug Drop-Off program have collected 166.72 pounds of medication and 4,605 needle/hypodermics. They have not collected any illicit narcotics. The week of March 13 they have 78.97 pounds of prescription medicines surrendered and about 700 needles/hypodermics.
The large amount of needles is unusual for simple local use.
“While we are very happy with the quantity of medication and hypodermic needles turned in as part of the Drug Surrender Program so far, we remind pharmaceutical businesses that this is not the program to rid their companies of expired bulk medication,” said Capt. David Silversparre.
When pharmaceutical companies dispose of out-of-date prescription drugs and needles they pay a fee to a legitimate disposal company. This was not the intent of the program.
When the program was first established at CV Station, Silversparre said, “This allows the community a safe place to drop off prescription drugs.”
The program originated at L.A. County Sheriff’s Department’s Lomita Station and has now expanded to include all sheriff’s stations in L.A. County.
He added that many times people don’t know how to dispose of outdated or no longer needed prescription medication. Disposing of the drugs through the sewer system is bad for the environment.
Leaving the drugs in the home can also be dangerous if there are younger children, especially teenagers, in the home. Several suspensions/expulsions at both the middle and high school have been the result of students bringing prescription drugs to school that were not prescribed to them.
Illegal drugs can also be dropped off in one of the mailbox-type bins. The items can be disposed of at the sheriff’s station with no questions asked. There are no surveillance cameras, no one will be watching those who decide to take advantage of the program, Silversparre added.
“We do wish parents who find drugs and narcotic users who turn the positive corner on life to use our illicit narcotics bin to turn in drugs safely and anonymously,” Silversparre said.