Police-sponsored turn-in nets nearly a ton of drugs

See why scores of folks came by to safely get rid of their outdated prescriptions and to destroy outdated documents …

Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Neighborhood Response Team (NRT) Officer Rob Brown accepts a bag of unused prescription drugs during the spring prescription-drug-turn-in and document-shred event.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Police precinct stations are generally no longer hosting drug turn-in bins; and document shredding events becoming scarcer in outer East Portland.

There was pent-up demand, when the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) White Collar Crimes Unit and the East Precinct Neighborhood Response Team hosted a prescription drug turn-in and shred event at PPB Southeast Precinct on April 30.

Cars were lined up around the building during most of the four-hour long event; a few were turned away near the end, when drug boxes were filled, and the shredding truck was full to capacity.

After a drug turn-in participant pops their trunk, PPB East Precinct NRT Officer Rob Brown and City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement Crime Prevention Specialist Jenni Pullen take out a bag of drugs, destined for disposal.

“On the prescription drug side of this event, this is an ongoing effort to raise awareness about teens experimenting and using prescription medications from mom’s and dad’s medicine cabinet,” remarked City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement Crime Prevention Specialist Jenni Pullen at the event.

“Keeping sensitive documents and prescription medications out of the hands of people who might misuse them is an important way to prevent fraud and drug abuse,” Pullen said.

These medications, cleaned out of medicine cabinets in homes throughout the area, are then incinerated. “Flushing old medications and food supplements down the toilet can end up polluting our groundwater supply,” Pullen observed. “So, our secondary focus of this event is to keep our waterways clean.”

Officers from the PPB White Collar Crimes Unit watch, as neighbors fill a roll bin with personal papers to shred on-site.

PPB East Precinct NRT Sgt. Randy Teig loads another box – one of the hundreds of pounds of prescriptions turned in, that day – into a secure van for transport to the incineration site.

More than 400 people came by, dropping off 7,000 pounds of sensitive documents for shredding, and turning in 1,815 pounds of prescription medication. There was one other component of the drive that day, and that was gathering donations for the Portland Police Sunshine Division. Officers were able to fill five 50-gallon barrels with donations of food and clothing.

“Our next event will be in September,” Pullen said. “Or, check your local pharmacy; many of those locations are also taking back unused and expired medications for disposal.”

Meantime, at least one secure prescription drop-off box remains available to the public, at the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office mid-County District Office in the Hansen Building, located at 12240 NE Glisan Street, 97230 – it’s available during lobby hours.

The PPB Sunshine Division benefits with full donation barrels overflowing due to the generosity of those who dispose drugs and papers at the event.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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