By Brandon HENSLEY
Last Saturday people from all over the Crescenta Valley participated in a National Take-Back Initiative of disposing unused or expired prescription drugs.
Two local sites, the CV Sheriff’s Station and CVS Pharmacy on Verdugo Road, were set up and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with boxes available to dispose of the drugs.
The event, which is done every six months and began last year for the foothill area, is sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Members of Glendale Police Department and the CV Alcohol and Drug Prevention Coalition were at the CVS site and by all accounts, it was a successful day: over 150 pounds of drugs were collected.
The reasoning for holding events like these is simple, according to Glendale officer Joe Allen.
“There’s an alarming trend of pharmaceuticals being abused to substitute for illicit drugs, so by helping to remove some of these unused and expired medication from people’s shelves it helps minimize that abuse or misuse of it,” he said.
Allen also mentioned the dangers of accidental overdosing by young children if they get their hands on it.
According to the DEA, prescription drug abuse is also the second most abused drug for teenagers behind marijuana.
DEA agent Connie Gerten, who was at the CVS site, said the event is needed so drugs don’t wind up in the wrong hands.
“I think people just didn’t have a place to put it and didn’t know what to do with and they stockpiled it,” she said.
“You don’t know what something is, you want to get rid of it … it’s all going to be completely destroyed,” said Melinda Clarke, executive director of the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce, who is also part of the Coalition.
Clarke has a daughter at Rosemont Middle School and said she is aware of the drug problems around the area that don’t just start at CV High School, but can start in jr. high. Clarke said the Coalition’s existence is important to spread the word early.
“Other moms whose kids are going there, I don’t even think they know the Coalition exists, so that’s one thing we want to try and work on is getting [the word] out there that there are resources, there is information, there’s help and support,” she said.
“I was actually talking to officer Allen and he said the reason that people get caught [at Rosemont] is that we’ve taught teachers and educators to look for signs who are able to get more and they’ve actually been able to get rid of a lot [drugs] because of that. They can spot it and find out who they’re getting it from,” Clarke said.
During the day, a woman walked by simply wanting to know more about the take-back initiative, and ended up learning that disposing of drugs down the toilet – something she had done – is not the right thing to do because of the harmful effects of the environment.
Allen said many people walked by the booth, learned what the day was about and went home and gathered up their unwanted prescription drugs, which were to be taken to a facility in Long Beach.
People can drop off prescription drugs at the CV Sheriff’s Station any time or day of the week, and on Saturdays in Glendale.
“The city of Glendale does accept medication all Saturdays at a disposal down at the Environmental Management Center at 780 Flower Street,” Allen said.