April 27 is National Pharmaceutical Take-Back Day and the Canfield Police Department is geared up to make it as easy as possible for those wanting to get rid of unwanted prescriptions.
"This year it will be as simple as driving up to the police station, rolling your window down, and handing the unwanted pharmaceuticals to a police officer," said police Chief Chuck Colucci.
He said in past years, his department has taken part in the event, but those dropping off had to park at his department and go inside to make the drop. This year, a table will be set up in the parking lot to allow citizens to drive up, drop the items, and drive away.
The take-back initiative is a national program through the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration. Police departments who take the drugs in have to log them in as evidence that is collected for destruction. The DEA then picks up the collected drugs and destroys them.
The take-back accomplishes several goals starting with protecting the environment.
"Everyone used to just flush the prescriptions," Colucci said. "We encourage citizens not to do that because it is not safe for our water system."
Another reason is that some drugs can bring house break-ins. Colucci said there are criminals who look for people with cancer who are taking chemotherapy treatments. Some of the prescription drugs the patients use are what these criminals are looking for. He said there have been break-ins in the area where only the drugs have been taken.
"Criminals know if you have had certain medical procedures and you may have medications that make your home susceptible to break-ins," Colucci said.
As for out-of-date prescriptions, he said often an elderly person will keep medications long after the expiration date. He said the prescriptions have most likely lost their full effect and should no longer be used. Those can be brought to the take-back collection regardless of age.
"Last year, we received a liquid prescription in a bottle dated 1950," he said. "It was neat to see how the old labels looked."
The prescription drop-off program will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27. For those who cannot make it during those times, they can drop off anytime.
"We accept unwanted prescription drugs year round," Colucci said. "It's a safe way to dispose of those medications."
He added that the medications will be logged for destruction as required by law. They are then stored in the police department's evidence locker until the DEA picks them up in bulk for proper disposal. Colucci said using this program helps protect the environment, gets medications off the street and out of the wrong hands, and helps clean medicine cabinets of outdated prescriptions and medications.