COLUMBIA — Boone County authorities collected almost 500 pounds of prescription drugs during an event aimed at encouraging residents to turn in medications they no longer need or use, Maj. Tom Reddin of the Boone County Sheriff's Department said.
Ryan Worley is coordinator of the the Youth Community Coalition, which was a partner in the prescription drug collection. He called it the most successful Prescription Drug Take Back event so far.
Here's a look at how many pounds of prescription drugs have been collected in each of six "take-back" events sponsored by the Boone County Sheriff's Department, the Youth Community Coalition and others:
Fall 2012: 494 pounds
Spring 2012: 509 pounds
Fall 2011: 505 pounds
Spring 2011: 174 pounds
Fall 2010: 120 pounds
Spring 2010: 120 pounds
Source: Boone County Sheriff's Department
"Our partners were great, and Boone County pharmacies are really clued in to what we do now," Worley said. "They helped get the word out to people with unused prescription drugs who don't know what to do with them."
The event took place at eight different collection sites over the weekend. It was intended not only to give people in Boone County a safe way to dispose of unused prescription drugs but also to spread awareness about prescription drug abuse.
"Abuse of prescription drugs does happen in our community. It is a very real and present reality," Worley said. "Even if people don't have unused prescription drugs to dispose of, we just want them to be aware of this and to know to keep track of what they have in their house."
The event also teaches people to dispose of the unused drugs in an environmentally friendly way. Toward that end, the Missouri Rural Water Association also was a partner in the event.
"A lot of people don't know what to do and flush their pills down the toilet," Worley said.
The sheriff's department said in a news release that the Drug Enforcement Administration will take the unused prescription drugs and dispose of them properly. Reddin said they probably will be incinerated.
Through the six Prescription Drug Take Back events that have taken place in Boone County since Spring 2010, about 1,921 pounds of unused medication have been collected for disposal, according to the news release.
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.