JEFFERSON CITY, Mo – The Cole County Sheriff’s Department collected approximately 36,000 prescription drug pills Saturday during Operation Take Back.
In four hours, 87 people dropped off their unwanted medications that would safely be destroyed with a new method of disposal.
In July, the department announced they would use Deterra to dispose of prescription drugs. Saturday’s drug drop-off event was the first time the neutralizing bags were used.
“This is usually the safest way,” said Lt. Gary Hill. “Sometimes you can throw them in the trash can or we don’t want to flush them into our water system, especially inside the city limits. It’s probably safer to bring them here for us to be able to dispose of them.”
Hill said they were able to fill 80 Deterra bags that held 450 pills each at the end of the event Saturday.
The bags, which are filled with a carbon compound, were then filled with water and neutralized the prescription drugs inside.
The Deterra bags are provided by ACT Missouri, a statewide training and resource center for drug and alcohol prevention.
Natalie Newville, ACT Missouri Public Information Officer, said in 2014, 33,000 pounds of prescription pills were collected in the state.
“We don’t want those at home in the kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets where kids can get them,” she said. “Not only little kids who don’t know what they’re taking, but also older kids who don’t understand.”
Lt. Hill said Operation Take Back is to prevent prescription drug abuse in Cole County.
“We know that ‘pharm parties’ do happen,” he said. “A lot of times kids don’t know what they have, so it’s safer to get them out of the house, get rid of them and put them in our hands and we’ll take care of them responsibly.”
ACT Missouri is also working with local pharmacies to supply smaller Deterra bags to customers to dispose of unwanted or leftover medications at home on their own.
Newville said they hope to have that in place by early 2016.
By Taylor Petras, Reporter KMIZ