Give Us Your Drugs, Says Santa Monica Police Department
By Jason Islas
September 20, 2012 -- In an effort to stem rising levels of prescription drug abuse, the Santa Monica Police Department is asking residents to clean out their medicine cabinets of potentially dangerous drugs.
As part of a nation-wide initiative by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the public can bring expired, unused and unwanted prescription medication to the Public Safety Facility, 333 Olympic Drive, on September 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. so that they can be disposed of properly.
An officer will be present to take the drugs.
“Prescription drugs are epidemic in this country,” said SMPD Spokesperson Sergeant Richard Lewis. “It's another reason why we're trying to get them off the street.”
“Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs,” police said.
Some of the most sought after drugs are painkillers.
In 2010, the New York Times reported that the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found a 400 percent increase of those seeking treatment for painkiller addiction.
“Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet,” according to authorities.
In order to stem the flow of illegal use of prescription drugs, Congress passed the 2010 Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act, which allows “an 'ultimate user' of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering the drugs to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them,” SMPD officials said.
Lewis said that proper disposal of prescription drugs is important because throwing them in the trash could eventually lead to harm.
“There are people out there who rummage through trash cans,” he said. Expired medications, or medications not prescribed to the person taking them could cause health problems or even death, he said.
Police also advise not to flush medicines down the toilet.
“People used to flush their old medicines,” he said, but “it's not healthy to flush them.” If flushed, Lewis said, they can pollute the ocean.
Over the last four “Take-Back” events, “more than 774 tons of medications were collected.
nationwide, of which more than 58,000 pounds were collected in the greater Los Angeles area alone,” authorities said.
This will be the third time that Santa Monica has participated in the nationwide event.
“The first two times we've done it, it's been a huge success,” Lewis said.
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