Police collect discarded drugs for destruction

It’s amazing how many pounds of pharmaceuticals and documents were taken for destruction during this yearly event …

All day long, people come to the annual paper shredding and drug turn-in held in near outer East Portland.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It’s not unusual to see Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers piling up boxes of discarded, expired, or unused pharmaceuticals received from neighbors on the last Saturday of April.

They’re not packaging the spoils of a raid; instead, these prescription drugs were dropped off by residents on April 29 as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) nationwide drug turn-in, held in Portland during the last few years at the former PPB “Southeast Precinct” building on East Burnside Street.

Crime Prevention Program Coordinator Jenni Pullen shows medications turned in to one of 44 boxes’ worth gathered on April 29.

“We’re also raising awareness that safely disposing of unused or expired medications helps keep our groundwater and waterways clean, and keeps them out of our landfills,” pointed out City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement Crime Prevention Program Coordinator Jenni Pullen. “People going through their medicine cabinets and removing these medicines helps prevent teen and adult drug abuse, too.”

Putting financial papers into a collection cart to for shredding are Crime Prevention Intern Micaella Flores and Portland Police Cadet Jenni Pedro.

“We’re also shredding documents; we encourage people to shred old bills, invoices, tax documents – anything with information on there that could be used for identity theft and fraud,” Pullen told East Portland News.

The collection and destruction of papers and drugs is a partnership among Portland ONI, the Police Bureau, DEA, United States Postal Inspection Service, and the PPB Sunshine Division. And, volunteers were collecting clean clothing and canned food for families in need, too, from arriving residents.

PPB East Precinct Neighborhood Response Team Officer Joe Young greets a neighbor who comes to drop off unused medication and documents to be shredded.

By the time the turn-in was over, two industrial paper-shredding trucks were filled, and 44 boxes – 1,760 lbs – of drugs were boxed up, and ready to be incinerated.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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