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Keeping drugs off the street

Caption
(BCR photo/Donna Barker)
Community leaders Larry Dalton (from left), representing the Community Partners Against Substance Abuse (CPASA), Wyanet Rescue Unit member Alicia Law and Wyanet Police Chief Todd Marquez dump unwanted and expired prescription medicines into containers during Saturday's National Take Back Initiative in Wyanet. Similar collections were held Saturday in Princeton and Buda. CPASA has partnered with area law enforcement and emergency assistance agencies in sponsoring the drug collections since July 2010.

PRINCETON – National Take Back Day on Saturday was a success for CPASA as they collected more than 250 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter drugs at locations in Princeton, Buda and Wyanet.

CPASA project coordinator Dawn Conerton described it as an “awesome, beautiful day.

“It was pretty steady all day long. We had about 50 to 60 people stop by,” she said. “The people all seemed really interested in what we were doing.”

The Take Back Day collection was added to the ongoing P2D2 drop-box accumulations. The two collections together totaled 1,543 pounds, according to Conerton.

Saturday was the community’s sixth opportunity in three years to get rid of any expired, unused and unwanted drugs. Since CPASA’s first P2D2 drop-box went up in July 2010, the program has collected 4,343 pounds of drugs.

CPASA volunteer Terry Madsen said it’s a lot of drugs off the street and out of the water supply.

“It was one of the largest single collection days,” he said about Saturday’s event.

Madsen volunteered at the drive in Princeton and said a constant flow of cars drove through the Princeton Police Department as fellow volunteers from the Bureau County Health Department, PPD and CPASA met people at their cars to collect the drugs.

At the end of the day, CPASA was able to fill a fish tank full of pill capsules

Madsen said a large collection of drugs was brought in from a pharmacy that recently closed and from a physician’s office that had been exposed to the recent flooding. 

Madsen explained the importance of the drug collection.

“Old drugs that are taken through self-diagnosis can cause a lot of problems. Drugs in medicine cabinets are available for theft, and we know locally and nationwide that drugs are sometimes taken and used by kids at parties … the results can be life threatening” he said.

While some people have been known to flush unwanted drugs in the sink or toilet, Madsen said it’s been scientifically proven that they can get into the water supply and traces of drugs have been found in rivers and lakes. The safest way to rid of the drugs is through the take back day events and the ongoing P2D2 drop boxes located in various areas in Bureau and Putnam counties.

Madsen confirmed more drop boxes are on their way, and some will accept narcotic drugs. Area pharmacies are also collecting unwanted prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, but they will not accept narcotics.

Madsen commended Conerton and the CPASA team for their efforts in bringing awareness to the ongoing P2D2 collection program. Through hard work and campaigning, the awareness and collection has increased greatly in the almost three years of its efforts.

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