The Derry and Londonderry Police Departments have just the thing to help people get rid of unwanted, unused or expired prescriptions.
The departments, along with the Drug Enforcement Administration, hopes to make it easy to get rid of old, unused prescriptions and will participate in a national "Take Back" drug initiative.
On Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., DEA and local police officers will be at Hood Commons in Derry. People can drop off old medicine or unused drugs, no questions asked. The service is free.
In Londonderry, residents are asked to bring unwanted prescriptions to the department at 268-A Mammoth Road, across from Londondery High School between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. An officer will be there to help and answer questions.
The initiative is a way to help people get rid of potentially dangerous drugs around the home and keep them from falling into the wrong hands. Medicine languishing in a medicine cabinet can offer a dangerous opportunity for drugs to be abused, according to the DEA.
Rates of prescription drug use are increasing, DEA officials report, as are the numbers for accidental poisonings and overdoses.
Studies show a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained by family and friends. People may not know how to dispose of old drugs properly, often tossing them in the trash or even flushing them down a toilet — both health and safety hazards.
For local law enforcement, the drug collection drive is a way to keep people safe by offering a chance to dispose of unwanted drugs.
Derry police Sgt. Eric Kester said the collection is a great tool.
"This is a good time to get on top of it," Kester said.
He said studies point to drugs showing up in groundwater or elsewhere in the environment when disposal is not done properly. The DEA will dispose of the drugs collected in both communities.
Other community groups are interested in coming on board to help out, Kester said, including Community Alliance for Teen Safety, or CATS, a local organization working to keep young people safe.
"CATS is pleased to support this effort and work with the Derry Police Department," Paula Galvin, CATS assistant director said. "Misuse, abuse and improper disposal of prescription medication creates problems in multiple areas."
The collection process is simple.
"It will be in and out in 60 seconds," Kester said.
Kester invites everyone to take an inventory of their home medicine cabinet and consider getting rid of any potentially dangerous, unused prescriptions.
"We don't want kids to be exposed to what's inside mom and dad's medicine cabinet," he said.
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'Take Back' Day
When: Sept. 25, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Hood Commons, Crystal Avenue, Derry, and Londonderry police station, Mammoth Road, Londonderry
What's OK: Solid dosage pharmaceutical products and liquids in consumer containers, controlled, non-controlled, over-the-counter, liquids like cough syrup.
What's not OK: Intravenous solutions, syringes, aerosols, inhalers, illicit substances like marijuana or methamphetamine.