ONTARIO — Over the past year, 335 pounds of prescription drugs have been handed over to the Ontario Police Department, and 50 pounds of that came in on Sept. 26.
That’s when the department teamed up with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration for a take-back day for unwanted and expired prescription drugs.
Even when it isn’t hosting a take-back day, the department has a collection box at Ontario City Hall where people can drop off prescription drugs throughout the year, Ontario Police Chief Mark Alexander said.
“That’s a lot of medications that are out of households that could be subject to abuse, and we’re keeping them out of that system,” Alexander said.
The prescription drug take-back is free and confidential, and the program is strictly for pills and patches.
“We’re trying to keep stuff out of cabinets and homes that people would be stealing that have drug addiction problems,” Alexander said in the past of the need for the program.
The recent take-back day had a record collection in the Pacific Northwest, according to a news release from the Drug Enforcement Administration. In a four-hour period, residents of Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Alaska combined turned in a record-breaking 17 tons of unwanted or expired medications. Oregon residents turned in 4.5 tons.
“This outstanding participation is a true reflection of their deep concerns in keeping the unused pharmaceutical drugs from being abused by unintended users and disposed of in the most environmentally conscious way possible,” Keith Weis, DEA special agent in charge, said in the release.