164 pounds of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs collected by Sarasota Police Department on April 24

Officers collaborated with U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for Take Back Day

A Sarasota Police Department officer holds bags of drugs people dropped off during Take Back Day. Image courtesy Sarasota Police Department

“Officers with the Sarasota Police Department collected 164 pounds of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs while partnering with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) during the annual Take Back Day on Saturday, April 24,” the department has announced.

The service was free and anonymous, “with no questions asked,” a news release notes. The April 24 event “was the DEA’s 20th nationwide event since its inception,” the release adds.

“The 164 pounds of unwanted prescription pills will be collected and properly disposed of by members of the DEA,” the release points out.

Over the 10 years of Take Back Day, the DEA has brought in more than 6,800 tons of prescription drugs, the release notes. With studies indicating that many prescription drugs people have abused have come from family members and friends — straight from home medicine cabinets, in more than a few cases — “clearing out unused medicine is essential,” the release emphasizes.

The Take Back Day initiative “addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” the release continues. Medications in home cabinets “are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse,” the release points out. They can lead to accidental poisonings and overdoses, the release adds.

Further, unused prescription drugs thrown in the trash “can be retrieved and abused or illegally sold,” the release says.

Moreover, it notes, “Prescription drugs that are unused and flushed can contaminate water supplies. Proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has seen an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, the release continues. Altogether, 83,544 Americans overdosed during the 12-month period ending July 1, 2020, “the most ever recorded in 12 months. The increase in such deaths appeared to begin before the COVID-19 health emergency but accelerated significantly during the first few months of the pandemic,” the release points out.

Persons with medications they would like to dispose of properly, who were unable to stop by the April 24 event, may visit the Sarasota Police Department headquarters in downtown Sarasota, the release notes. The facility has a permanent drop box in its lobby.

The headquarters is located at 2099 Adams Lane in Sarasota. The public may access the drop box any day; the lobby is open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m., the release says.