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Drug Take-Back Day nets 135 pounds of meds

Expired and unused drugs set for disposal

Posted: October 3, 2012 - 12:06am
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Alaska State Trooper Chris Umbs carts a box full of prescription medication to his vehicle. Law enforcement collected 135 pounds of unused/expired medications at the biannual event, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency.  Emily Russo Miller / Juneau Empire
Emily Russo Miller / Juneau Empire
Alaska State Trooper Chris Umbs carts a box full of prescription medication to his vehicle. Law enforcement collected 135 pounds of unused/expired medications at the biannual event, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency.

Local and state law enforcement agencies collected 135 pounds of medication as part of the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day that was held nationwide on Saturday.

Alaska State Trooper Chris Umbs said 97 people in Juneau stopped by Nugget Mall to drop off expired and unused medication for safe disposal.

Umbs, Trooper Josh Bentz and Juneau Police Department Officer Tommy Penrose volunteered to set up a table outside the Rodfather’s Broiler Steak & Seafood restaurant to collect the medication from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Every time that we do it, I think it’s a plus,” Umbs said, noting that they almost only hear positive feedback about the event. “They obviously understand the risk of flushing that stuff down the toilet as well as getting into the public drinking water.”

This is the fifth national Take-Back day that the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency has hosted nationwide. It’s held twice a year — once in the spring and once in the fall.

According to their website, a total of 552,161 pounds (or 276 tons) of medication was turned in during the spring event earlier this year at 5,659 sites across the country.

When the results of the four Take-Back Days are combined, more than 1.5 million pounds, or 774 tons, of medication have been collected.

The initiative to dispose of medication safely and properly got its start nationally when Congress passed legislation, and President Barack Obama signed the Safe and Secure Drug Disposal Act in October of 2010.

It’s aim is to help crack down on prescription drug abuse and also to dispose of the drugs in an environmentally sound way.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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