Santa Barbara’s law enforcement agencies will participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this weekend, providing area residents with the opportunity to safely dispose of their unneeded prescription drugs.
On Saturday, September 29, the Santa Barbara Alcohol and Drug Program, Sheriff’s Office, and Santa Barbara Police Department will post prescription drop-off boxes outside each Sheriff’s substation in the county, and the SBPD will host a drop-off point in La Cumbre Plaza. This is the SBPD’s first year of participation in the nationwide program.
Because of their often potent ingredients, prescription drugs can be both an environmental and safety hazard if they are not disposed of properly — they should not be thrown away or flushed down the toilet. Additionally, prescription drug abuse is a rising problem in the United States, ranking below only marijuana use as the most prevalent form of drug abuse, according to Sharon Byrne, a member of the S.B. County Advisory Board on Alcohol and Drug Problems.
On Thursday afternoon, Byrne, fellow Advisory Boardmember Dave Novis joined SBPD Public Information Officer Riley Harwood, Undersheriff Jim Peterson, Second District Supervisor Joni Wolf, and Jeremy Tittle, a representative of Salud Carbajal’s office, for a press conference outside the County Sheriff’s building.
Undersheriff Peterson said Saturday’s drive was “the perfect opportunity to clean out those old medicine cabinets.” Prescription drug abuse, he said, can often be a crime of opportunity, as leftover drugs or improperly disposed scripts can easily fall into the hands of drug users.
Take-Back Days are semiannual events, with the last event falling on April 28. During that drive, citizens turned in an unprecedented 552,161 pounds of unwanted or expired medication nationwide. Tomorrow’s event, the fifth organized drive, will add to a previous total of more than 1.5 million pounds from the four previous days.
Area collection sites will be posted on www.dea.gov under the “Got Drugs?” link.