Drug drop-offs likely to continue

LA CRESCENTA — Los Angeles-area drug enforcement officials said they plan to conduct more pill drop-off drives, following the success of an inaugural program last month that yielded 8,190 pounds regionally.

Having a designated day to drop off prescription drugs and having several deposit sites proved to yield a large amount of pills, drug enforcement officials said.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is now hoping to have such events every six months and increase the number of police departments that serve as deposit sites, said Special Agent Sarah Pullen, a spokeswoman for the agency.

The agency kicked off its Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Program on Sept. 25. Residents were asked to dispose of expired and unused drugs that day at participating police departments.

"Unused or expired medications are a public safety issue, and can lead to accidental poisoning, overdose and abuse," said Timothy J. Landrum, who heads the Los Angeles-area office. "This collaborative effort resulted in removing more than 8,000 pounds of medicine out of our homes, greatly reducing the hazard they pose to our families and communities."

The Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station served as a local drop-off site, and collected about 15 pounds of prescription pills, Pullen said. The station was one of 20 Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department stations that functioned as drop off sites.

The stations collected a combined 2,000 pounds of prescription pills, she said.

Glendale's Environmental Management Center, which is run by the Glendale Fire Department, didn't see a significant increase in the number of prescription pills dropped off that day, said Vasken Demirjian, the site's coordinator.

The Flower Street site regularly collects prescription pills, needles and other hazardous chemicals.

Site workers collect about 400 pounds of prescription drugs per month, he said. Workers then dump the pills into large containers, which they incinerate, Demirjian said.

"It's the safest way," he said.

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