CLAY COUNTY – Health and law enforcement officials joined with the community to lock arms to end the war on drugs during the Drug Enforcement Administration’s annual National Drug Take Back Day …
CLAY COUNTY – Health and law enforcement officials joined with the community to lock arms to end the war on drugs during the Drug Enforcement Administration’s annual National Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 22.
Residents were able to safely dispose of their unused and expired medications at three locations in Clay: the Orange Park Police Department, HCA Florida Orange Park Hospital and the County Paramedic Office in Middleburg.
After disposing of prescription pills, officials locations asked residents a few brief questions, such as how they found out about the event. People who dropped off drugs were also encouraged to complete a survey via a QR code.
The safe and proper disposal of medications provides myriad benefits that promote the community’s greater good.
Freeing cabinet space and keeping the drugs out of harm’s way to children and potential drug abusers are among some top advantages of the DEA’s annual program.
At the Orange Park Police Department, Assistant Chief Randy Chase reminded residents of the importance of getting rid of expired and unwanted prescriptions.
“We want to tie in that (residents) can drop (the medications) off on a daily basis,” he said.
Capt. Stephen Teal, Community Paramedicine Program Director for Clay County Fire and Rescue, said several pharmacies and Fire Rescue stations provide residents with highly resourceful and convenient Deterra pouches, which can destroy up to 45 pills.
“You fill it up with water and zip lock it shut, and the bag is biodegradable,” he said.
OPPD filled two large trash bags with expired and unwanted prescriptions in four hours, largely thanks to the help of Cori Kirk, Property and Evidence Technician.
Kirk was responsible for sorting through the medications and separating liquids, syringes or creams and returning them to residents. The takeback only concentrated on pills.
The pills were taken to the department’s property and evidence room to be examined, weighed, and collected by the DEA on Monday, which destroyed the medicines collected.
The Paramedic’s Office in Middleburg also had a strong turnout looking to rid their cabinets of unwanted pills. In the first three hours, nearly five trash bags had been filled, according to Teal.
Residents listed several reasons for turning in pills.
“My wife is no longer taking them,” said Brad Berg as he pulled into the drive-thru style configuration at OPPD.
Improper disposal can be dangerous, including to fish and wildlife in waterways, when the drugs are flushed down the toilet or thrown in the garbage.
“I had this stuff stored for quite a while, and I wanted to get rid of it. But I didn’t want to put it in the trash or flush it down the drain because I heard (about the detrimental effects to the fish) on the radio. I just heard this story about the (red drum fish) all over the state filled with prescription meds. I’m a big fisherman, and I don’t want that stuff getting in the water,” said Bob Buehn after he turned in pills at OPPD.