By Mary O’KEEFE
On Saturday, community members brought their unused and/or unwanted drugs to various areas throughout Crescenta Valley as part of the Drug Take Back, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration in partnership with the Crescenta Valley Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition/Alliance and law enforcement.
“We collected [over 700 pounds] of prescription drugs last year,” said Glendale police officer Joe Allen. He added that he hoped to collect as much or more of the unwanted drugs as last year’s collection. In addition to being a police officer, Allen is also vice president of the coalition and recipient of several awards for his work in the field of narcotics education and prevention.
According the U.S. Dept. of Justice, “Individuals of all ages abuse prescription drugs – data reported in the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse indicate that an estimated 36 million U.S. residents aged 12 and older abused prescription drugs at least once in their lifetime. The survey also revealed that millions of teenagers and young adults abuse prescription drugs – 2.7 million individuals aged 12 to 17 and 6.9 million individuals aged 18 to 25 abused prescription drugs at least once.”
Some folks brought medication to the drop off centers that had been left after the death of a family member or were simply not needed any longer.
The Take Back event was started by the DEA in September 2010. The agency has collected over 1,000 tons of expired, unwanted medications since the collections began. In addition to collecting the unwanted, unneeded medication, the event is a chance to educate the public on the misuse of prescription medication.
“Four days after the DEA’s first Take-Back event 30 months ago, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an ‘ultimate user’ of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is in the process of finalizing regulations to implement the Act,” according to the DEA website.
For those who missed the Drug Take Back, there are permanent drop off receptacles at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station at 4554 Briggs Ave. in La Crescenta. There are receptacles for prescription drugs, unused/used or unwanted hypodermic needles and illegal drugs. There are no questions asked; the receptacles are located outside the front office entrance.