Police collecting old, expired prescriptions Saturday

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) –So many people do not dispose of their prescription medications properly.  This Saturday police nationwide will take your old medications, no questions asked.  They want to keep them out of the hands of abusers.

Nancy Brooks said her drug addiction started in the same manner as many of the teens she now counsels at Drug and Alcohol Services.  It began as a social situation that snowballed.

"I learned to stop coping with life and learning how to deal with life and I had to take a substance to be able to function," she explained.

For many teens, prescription medicines are the first exposure to taking drugs.  That's one reason Brooks thinks people should hand over their old drugs to police on National Take-Back Day.  It's being held this Saturday, for the first time.

There are many ways these drugs could end up in the wrong place, like if you flush them down the toilet and they go into the water supply.  They could also end up in the wrong hands if you through your medications in the garbage and someone steals your trash.  Trouble could also come if you keep them in plain site and a teen steals them from your medicine cabinet.

Richmond Police and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency find these drugs on the streets during their investigations.  Capt. Roger Russell explained more people overdose on prescriptions than other illegal substances.

"These medicines are made for particular reasons and if they're abused and not taken the proper way really bad things can happen," he said.

Prescription drugs cannot be returned to your local pharmacy.  Saturday, detectives will be on hand to collect unused or expired medications.  Russell said the process is anonymous; they won't care what the drug is or how it's packaged.  The service is free and they'll take care of everything.

The medications will be incinerated according to state and federal guidelines.  Law enforcement agencies in Richmond, Henrico, Hanover, Ashland and the Tri-Cities are participating.  The drop off sites will be open this Saturday from 10 am until 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved