Do Good Today: Take an Hour to Get Rid of Potentially Dangerous Unused Prescription Drugs

Published : Saturday, April 27, 2019 | 4:41 AM

Stop by the Pasadena Police Department today.

Make the quick trip with a bag of all the old prescription drugs you’ve accumulated — take a few minutes to clean out that drugs cabinet — and you might save a life should any of those pills or bottles ever find their way into the hands of a youngster, a house guest, a workman, a burglar.

The DEA and the PPD and the Pasadena Health Dept. and a local nonprofit called Day One will be waiting for you, because today is National Drug Take-Back Day.

“A day to remind the public not to keep unused prescription drugs at home, to not flush them down the toilet, to keep our environment safe, our water supply, our marine life, and to not keep it at home for misuse and abuse,”  explained Christy Zamani, executive director of Day One, at a press conference on Thursday.

Pop by the Department between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., it won’t take long. It’s at 207 North Garfield Avenue.

“We need to be more vigilant and do our due diligence to keep these medications safe and out of the wrong hands,” Zamani said.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is a safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs. Zamani said children and young adults are getting to excess medication through home cabinets and doors.

The initiative is spearheaded by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and law enforcement agencies, in coordination with local public health offices and community organizations. There are 47 locations where the drugs can be dropped off and those locations can be accessed atwww.takebackday.dea.gov.

Last October, during the 16th National Take-Back Day, the DEA reported collecting over 900,000 pounds, or about 450 tons, of expired and unused drugs through about 5,800 collection sites throughout the U.S.

“Too often these prescription drugs get into the wrong hands and they lead to tragic events such as overdoses and overdose deaths,” said Michael Davis, assistant special agent in charge with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Los Angeles. “In 2017, we had over 560 opioid related deaths in LA County and the DEA of course, is partnering with our federal, state and local partners to lower that number.”

Data from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in 2018 shows that every year, prescription drug misuse is responsible for at least 400 deaths, over 9,000 visits to the emergency room, and 2,500 addiction treatment admissions in the county.

Dr. Ying Ying Goh, Health Officer for the City of Pasadena Public Health Department said Take-Back Day fits in the overall initiatives of her department.

“In public health, we recognize that substance addiction is not a moral failing, but rather it is a chronic disease that must be treated with compassion and urgency,” Goh said.

She said the Pasadena Public Health Department is a partner with a safe Med LA prescription drug abuse coalition in LA County. The coalition is working on multiple components of a broad, prescription drug abuse and overdose death reduction strategy that includes safe prescription drug disposal.

Day One has been working with students in Pasadena and throughout the San Gabriel Valley, and last year completed a countywide assessment which showed a large risk of expired drug misuse, especially among young people.

“I personally know many students who use pills to cope with the things they’re going through in life right now, but some also use them for fun or just to be cool,” said Blair High School student Christopher Silva. “We’re usually just thinking about what is going to get us through the day to day. I’m lucky that I’m involved with so many healthy outlets that keep me busy and surrounded by encouraging mentors who keep my head on straight.”

Jeffrey Stark of Pasadena Police Department said the unused drug drop-off is done in complete anonymity.

“No questions will be asked of you,” he said. “No information will be asked of you. No judgment will be given. We just want this unused or unwanted prescription medication turned over in a safe manner.”

Interested parties can go to the Day One website, or they can go to www.dea.gov and find a location near them. The group is going to be partnering with the police department in San Gabriel, and the sheriff’s department in Temple City.

To learn more about National Prescription Drugs Take Back Day, visit www.takebackday.dea.gov.

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