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Santa Monica Police to Collect Prescription Drugs for Disposal  


By Lookout Staff

April 18, 2012 -- Santa Monica Police this month will collect "potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted" prescription drugs in order to prevent pill abuse and theft, police announced this week.

The department, along with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), is encouraging residents to bring the medications for disposal to the front of the Santa Monica Police Department at 333 Olympic Drive on April 28 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The medications can be handed to an officer stationed at the curb during the "take-back" event, police said.

"The service is free, anonymous and no questions will be asked," said Sgt. Richard Lewis, the Police Department spokesman.

Last April, the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement partners collected 376,593 pounds, or 188 tons, of prescription drugs at nearly 5,400 sites across the country.

"Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse," according to a statement issued by Santa Monica police.

"Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs," the statement said. 

Most abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet, studies have shown.

Flushing unused medicines down the toilet or throwing them in the trash poses potential safety and health hazards, police said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Under the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications can dispose of the drugs by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them.

Since the regulations to implement the Act can take as long as 24 months to draft, local law enforcement agencies like Santa Monica and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months until the new regulations are in place.


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