Local law enforcement agencies joined a national effort Saturday to collect and dispose of expired prescription and over the counter drugs during the national drug take-back day.
Pembroke Police Chief Mark Crowe said Tuesday his department collected about 80 pounds of expired medications. Eighty pounds might sound like a lot, but Crowe said it could be more.
“We didn’t have as much participation from citizens here that we wanted,” he said.
Pembroke Public Safety Director Bill Collins sat outside the Pembroke Police Department from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday collecting old and expired medications. He said the drug take-back effort is important to get dangerous medications out of the home.
“This is a really great thing,” Collins said. “It gives families an opportunity to clean out their cabinets of things that may be harmful to children. They can bring drugs that are dangerous so kids can’t have access to them, and so people who are searching for drugs to get high or to sell don’t have access to them.”
Collins said once the drugs are collected, they are held in evidence lockers until picked up by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Once they’re picked up, the DEA burns them.
“Incineration is the only true way to dispose of drugs,” Collins said. “Burying them will cause them to get into your groundwater. And everybody thinks flushing is the way to go, but it’ll just go back in to your water system.”
Collins said Pembroke will likely host another drug take-back day in October.
The Richmond Hill Police Department also hosted a drug take-back day, though the amount of medication collected by the RHPD was not available by presstime.
In previous take-back events, the DEA has collected nationally more than 2 million pounds (1,018 tons) of prescription medications, according to the DEA’s website.