SPRINGFIELD, Ore.-- On Saturday, the Springfield Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration took part in National Drug Take-Back Day by giving the public an opportunity to dispose of unwanted, unused or expired prescription drugs. This is the 20th time SPD put on a drug disposal event.
"My daughter actually sent me the link because she's a volunteer firefighter," said Springfield resident Andrea Jewel. "We were cleaning out some rentals and people had left some drugs behind that I didn't want to fall in the wrong hands so she posted this event and I think it's absolutely fabulous."
The area collection sites were at Springfield Justice Center, Lane County Sheriff's Office, Coburg City Hall and Harrisburg City Hall. SPD said this initative addresses a public safety and health issue. They said rates of prescription drug abuses in the U.S. are alarmingly high as well as the number of accidental overdose due to drugs.
Springfield Police Sergeant Mike Massey said that it is important for the public to dispose of unused drugs safely.
"It can end up in a landfill. It can end up in an animal by accident," said Massey. "It can end up in someone who's digging through your garbage."
People are advised not to dispose of prescription medication by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash due to both environmental and health hazards.
SPD also offers a booth for drug disposal at the Springfield Justice Center lobby that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Residents can dispose of any prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, vitamins and nutritional supplements. But residents cannot dispose of needles, liquid medications, ointments, lotions, thermometers, aerosol cans, inhalers or medication from private clinics or hospitals.
Officials said they last held this event in October of 2020 where they collected around 500 pounds of unused drugs. SPD works with Covanta, a waste management service, to dispose of the drugs.
According to SPD, Americans turned in nearly 500 tons of prescription drugs at over 4,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners last fall.