Sheriff’s Office sponsors ‘drug turn-in’ day

Perhaps you’ve seen our stories about these events hosted by the Police Bureau? Discover why the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office took on the task of holding this important drug-removal event …

Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Tech Janet Hailey shows some of the many pills – some of them narcotics, obviously dangerous in the wrong hands – collected at the drug turn-in event.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In the past, East Portland News has brought you stories about “drug turn-in” events – from the very first one at Eastport Plaza – until when they installed a permanent, secure “turn in box” at Portland Police Bureau’s East Precinct.

But, on October 29, it was our “green-uniformed friends” at the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) who partnered with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to give local folks another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft, by ridding their homes of potentially-dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

That’s how MCSO Lt. Ned Walls put it, as he welcomed citizens to the turn-in event – people like Barbara Garrett – in their building’s lobby.

Outer East Portland neighbor Barbara Garrett says she’s glad to have a place to safely dispose of unused medications, as she visits the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office building on NE Halsey Street.

Garrett already knew one of the themes behind the event, saying “I know it’s not good for the environment to flush these down the toilet, or put them in the trash.”

Lt. Walls, the person in charge of the Investigations Division, agreed, and thanked Garrett for coming in.

“The number-one reason to participate in this program,” Walls told us, “is to keep unused and unwanted medications off the street. In the past, when people would commit a burglary, they would take your valuables – electronics to jewelry – but now they’re also checking the medicine cabinet for your prescription medication. No matter how careful you think you are, if someone breaks in, your drugs could get out on the streets.”

Another concern, Walls added, is that more young people are abusing their parents’ prescription medications. “If they have a ‘pill party’, and put a bunch of medications in a bowl, a teenager could get an ibuprofen that won’t hurt them – or they could grab an OxyContin, which can kill them.”

These medications will soon be destroyed in a high-temperature incinerator.

The only sure, ecologically-friend way to get rid of prescription medication, Walls pointed out, is to incinerate them – which is what they do, containers and all.

Just before the drive closed, Walls remarked that they’d collected eight large cartons – about 160 pounds – of prescription medications. “I’m glad they’re here, and not on the street,” he concluded.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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