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Off the streets

(BCR photo/Becky Kramer)
Princeton Police Officer Peg Maciejewski (from left), Tyler Wood, Morgan Wood, Amy Wood and Dawn Conerton join together in collecting unwanted and expired medicines during Saturday's Take-Back prescription drug day at the Princeton Police Department. The police department partnered with the Community Partners Against Substance Abuse (CPASA) in Saturday's event. Representing CPASA at the Princeton Police Station were Conerton and Amy Wood. The event also took place in Putnam County as well.

PRINCETON — More than 800 pounds of unwanted and expired medicines were collected and counted during Saturday’s National Take Back prescription drug day in Bureau and Putnam counties.

On Monday, Community Partners Against Substance Abuse coordinator Dawn Conerton said 806 pounds were collected Saturday at the Princeton, Buda, Wyanet, DePue, and Granville police departments as part of the National Take Back event. Saturday’s collection included not only that day’s drop-offs but also included drugs collected during the last six months at the six Prescription Drug Disposal Program (P2D2) drop-box sites in Bureau and Putnam counties.

Since beginning the P2D2 program in July 2010, CPASA has worked with area law enforcement agencies, through the P2D2 program and Take Back days, to collect 5,149 pounds of unwanted and expired drugs, Conerton said.

“This is an amazing number,” Conerton said. “Every year, I always worry that no one will come for the Take Back days, but we opened at the Princeton Police Department at 10 a.m., and there were already people who showed up early at 9 a.m. to drop off their unwanted drugs. It was a revolving door all day. It was wonderful.”

The National Take Back event is held twice a year, in April and October, and that’s also when collections are counted from the permanent P2D2 boxes, Conerton said. The P2D2 drop-off boxes are located at the Princeton Police Department, Bureau County Sheriff’s Department Jail, Spring Valley Police Department, Putnam County Sheriff’s Department, Ladd Police Department and Walnut Police Department, she said.

The collection and proper disposal of unwanted and expired medications is important for a of couple reasons, Conerton said.

“We are teaching people the importance of cleaning out their medicine cabinets to keep the drugs out of the wrong hands,” Conerton said. “If you are not using the drugs or if they are expired, then get rid of them. There is an expiration date on the medicines for a reason.”

Also, there are some people who may take drugs from medicine cabinets and try to sell them, or some young people may take them for their parties, she said.

Another reason for the collection and proper disposal of unwanted or expired medicines is to safeguard the environment and not flush the drugs into the water system, Conerton said.

With another successful Take Back event completed, Conerton said CPASA is appreciative of the support of area law enforcement departments in partnering with CPASA in the Take Back and P2D2 programs. CPASA also appreciates the residents and communities for their support of these needed programs, she said.

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