The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station joined agencies across the country Saturday for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, in an effort to curb the misuse of controlled prescription drugs.
The event, brought forth by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, offers residents ways to safely dispose of and keep medications safe by dropping them off at designated sites.
At the SCV station, a total of 10 boxes were quickly filling up as residents dropped off items in a drive-thru setup operated by members of the Juvenile Intervention Team, or J-Team.
“People don’t like to have pills sitting around or their parents or children have passed away so this is a good place to drop off their meds,” said Detective Nashla Barakat. “You can bring anything from pills to sharps, but today, we’re getting a lot of sharps.”
In August, the station held its own take-back event and collected a total of 210 pounds. In 2019, more than 882,900 pounds were collected nationwide, according to the DEA.
“According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs,” read the DEA’s website. “The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.”
The event is part of the overall effort to help prevent drug addiction and overdoses, said Barakat.
“Overdoses are on the rise out here because of fentanyl and everything else,” she said. “Anytime you have anything lying at home, somebody can get it. If we have the opportunity to take what we can out of your hands if you don’t want it at your house we want to do that. We don’t want anything left where a child can get to it and possibly overdose.”
For Valencia resident Erin Wade, the event offered a chance to clear out her home of unwanted medication.
“I just took a bag and went through all of the cabinets and some were 10 years old,” she said. “So, it’s not safe having them in the house.”
To learn more about the national event, visit takebackday.dea.gov.