‘Drug Take-Back Day’ returns – adding document shredding, too

Here’s where many folks from outer East Portland took their unused medications and discarded documents for safe disposal …

Participation is strong during this spring’s “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day” in East Portland.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Energized by the success of the similar event held by the Portland Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) last October, the Portland Police Bureau joined in the latest “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day” on April 27th.

> To read about that event last fall: CLICK HERE.

For four hours, the City of Portland’s Safe Blocks Program and the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) partnered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to hold this event again at the former PPB “Southeast Precinct” station – the Penumbra Kelly Building, in inner Southeast Portland.

OVP Safe Walks Program Coordinator Rocio Garcia – she coordinated this Portland Drug Take-Back Day – and co-worker Sarah Berkemeier welcome those arriving to safely dispose of unwanted drugs and documents.

The public was invited to bring in all kinds of unused and expired medications – including tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms of prescription drugs, as well as over-the-counter medicines.

“Providing this service is important, because it helps people properly dispose of their old drugs – both prescription and nonprescription medications,” explained the day’s coordinator, OVP Safe Walks Program Coordinator Rocio Garcia.

It doesn’t take long for boxes to fill up with discarded medications!

“Removing these medications helps keep them out of reach of children – or anyone for whom they were not prescribed or recommended,” Garcia told East Portland News. “And, by disposing of them properly keeps these chemicals out of the landfills – where they could find their way into our groundwater system.”

The rain sweeping across the area that day didn’t slow the steady stream of cars dropping off both medications and documents for disposal, during the four-hour drive-through event.

Document shredding added back in

A worker feeds in the contents of a rolling cart of documents – to be destroyed in the mobile shredding unit.

“What’s new this time around is that we brought back document shredding, because of the community need and demand for this service,” Garcia pointed out. “It’s important because – when these papers are shredded – criminals can’t access the personal information that might be in them, for identity theft and fraud.”

After it was over, Garcia reflected that another great result of the day was that people bringing in discarded pills and papers also brought donations for the PPB’s Sunshine Division – which filled both donation bins with about 390 pounds of food.

This Portland Police Bureau Neighborhood Response Team officer accepts more bags of discarded medications to be taken away and safely destroyed.

“Also, we collected nine boxes – about 202 pounds – of discarded drugs,” informed Garcia. “I just love this event so much. It really is what our Safe Blocks Program is all about: Community building, by collaborating with other public service agencies to provide safety solutions for the community, and encouraging people to give to those in need!”

© 2024 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

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