Police to collect old pills

Published 9:42 pm Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Take-back day: Suffolk Police Officers White and Lopez hand out fliers to Vernon W. Bailey Sr. at Walmart during last year’s National Take-Back Day. The event will be held again this year on Saturday.

Suffolk police are calling upon area residents to clean out their medicine cabinets and bathroom drawers to find their old, outdated and unused medications.

The Suffolk Police Department, along with Virginia State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration, are sponsoring a drug take-back day Saturday to reduce the amount of unused prescription drugs present in the city. Citizens are encouraged to bring their unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs to be collected.

“It overall makes the community safer,” said Lt. Tim Duncan with the special investigations unit of the Suffolk Police Department. “This gets the drugs out of the community so they won’t be abused by household members.”

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This is the second year Suffolk Police have participated in the program, which is sponsored nationwide by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Last year’s event brought in more than 86 pounds of medication at two Suffolk collection sites.

“That’s pretty significant for a first-time event,” Duncan said.

Police investigators will be available Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the downtown Walmart, 1200 N. Main St., and at Bennett’s Creek Pharmacy, 3219 Bridge Road.

No illegal drugs will be accepted, and neither will any intravenous solutions, injectables or syringes because of the risk posed by blood-borne pathogens.

Liquid products such as cough syrup should remain sealed in their original container. Solid medications can be disposed of in its original container or by removing the medication from its container; however, participants should remove any identifying information from the prescription label if turning in medication in its original container.

Duncan said many of last year’s participants were turning in medicine for elderly or recently deceased family members.

“We had a lot of folks helping senior members of their family clean out medicine cabinets,” Duncan said. “Sometimes, their family had passed away and they did not know what to do with [the medication].”

Duncan said the program will help prevent abuse of the drugs as well as accidental ingestion by young children and the elderly. Suffolk Police Chief Thomas Bennett supports the program, Duncan added.

“Our chief is on point with this, and he’s a very strong advocate of making our community safe,” Duncan said.

For more information on the event, contact Duncan at 514-7951 or email tduncan@suffolkva.us.