Take Back Day to safely dispose of prescriptions

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published April 16, 2014

FARMINGTON HILLS — To help protect the most vulnerable victims from prescription drug abuse, among other things, the Farmington Hills Police Department is participating in the eighth annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day April 26.

“If you have unused prescription medication laying around, there is potential for people who shouldn’t have it getting ahold of it, such as children or potentially criminals,” Cmdr. Matt Koehn said recently. “Also, this way it is not going into the water system. It alleviates any issues with unwanted prescription medication.”

This is the city’s fourth time partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration to coordinate Prescription Drug Take Back Day, scheduled for 10 a.m.-2 p.m. inside the Police Department lobby, 31655 11 Mile Road, for people to anonymously and safely drop off potentially dangerous prescriptions, a press release said.

“It is a great program. It is a good way to get rid of medication that shouldn’t be on the street,” Koehn said. “This one, you can just show up and drop it off. And if it is not convenient to come to our station, you can do a search online for other participating locations and drop it off there, also.”

Residents of any city can use the DEA-provided collection box that will be located inside Farmington Hills Police Headquarters, according to the press release.  The drop-off and pick-up of prescription drugs will be supervised by DEA and Police Department officials. Prescription drugs do not need to be in their original labeled packaging; any type of container is acceptable. However, liquid medication will not be accepted. Disposing of prescription drugs will be in accordance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations, according to the release.

During last year’s local Prescription Drug Take Back Day, the Police Department collected 108 pounds of prescription drugs, which the DEA destroyed. Nationwide, a total of 742,497 pounds of medications were collected, with 11,593 pounds of prescription drugs turned over to law enforcement personnel at 197 sites throughout Michigan.

Sgt. Jim Knittel said the Police Department has a staunch belief that because the program is voluntary, they don’t ask residents turning in medication questions about how they obtained it, but sometimes people tell officers anyway.

“People will generally tell us their mother or father passed away, or they used the pills for a length of time and they are trying to get rid of them,” Knittel said.

He added that even if people who are abusing drugs show up to dispose of them, it still is a great opportunity for them to do so properly.

“We are keeping them out of children’s hands, addicts’ hands or high schoolers that may want to try to experiment, and if we can do that, it is certainly a positive event, and that is what it’s all about,” Knittel said.

For more information on finding Take Back sites, go to http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/.

For more information, call the Investigative Bureau at (248) 871-2770.