Sheriff’s Station hosts 2019 Drug Take Back Day

Santa Clarita resident Angelica Ngo hands over her prescription drugs at the National Drug Take Back Day held in front of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, April 27, 2019. Caleb Lunetta / The Signal.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, in partnership with Ralphs Pharmacy, hosted a local event in conjunction with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday.

Underneath a Ralphs Pharmacy tent set up in front of the station, federal agents, doctors and sheriff’s deputies set up bins for people to come back and drop off their expired or unwanted prescription drugs. Those who dropped off drugs brought everything from old painkillers used after a surgery to unwanted vitamins and in quantities that ranged from single bottles to whole gallon bags.

“Things that sit in medicine cabinets like that there’s potential dangers; kids can get to them and the friends of kids can get to them,”said Sgt. Tim Vanderleek, of the SCV Sheriff’s Station J-Team. “So, we set up here and we encourage people to come in and bring in prescription medication that’s expired and they have no need for it anymore.”

Dozens of people came throughout the day to drop off drugs. In previous years the event has collected close to 150 pounds’ worth in prescription and over-the-counter drugs, Vanderleek said.

“We’re encouraging to get that out of the medicine cabinets and over here to us where we can dispose of it,” said Vanderleek. “Everything from your over-the-counter cold and flu medication, expired aspirin, and then a lot of it is prescribed medications that people have taken and they stopped using it, or they just got the prescription and they never used it and it’s just been sitting in a medicine cabinet.”

And although liquids were not accepted, such as cough syrup and other liquid opiates, Vanderleek said they were instructing people on how to properly dispose of those liquids. The Ralphs Pharmacy technicians and physicians were also freely distributing a portable solution to neutralize drugs in a proper manner from home.

“You don’t have to sign anything,” Vanderleek said, as he explained how they keep the Take Back process anonymous. “You just come over and hand us what you have …  (and) we don’t inspect it except for looking for liquids.”

Vanderleek added that while the April 27 event was the only event of its kind to occur during the month, he said that the sheriff’s station is planning another drug take-back later in the fall.

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital also has a medication disposal container, located in the main lobby of the hospital, where medication can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. The hospital is located at 23845 McBean Parkway in Valencia.

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