Take back initiative for prescription drugs in Coon Rapids

The Coon Rapids Police Department will again be taking part in a national take back initiative for prescription drugs.

This will take place at the police department, 11155 Robinson Dr. NW, Saturday, Oct. 26, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., out front on the sidewalk, weather permitting, or in the lobby area.

Only prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications, cough syrup etc. will be accepted at no cost, according to Terry Thomton, a Coon Rapids community policing officer.

No needles or sharps of any kind as well as insulin pens or injectors can be brought in, Thomton said.

“People can remove the labels from the prescription bottles if they choose, however, it is not required,” he said.

The medications go into a sealed cardboard box and both the box and contents are incinerated, Thomton said.

This is the second time this year that the police department has had a take back program for prescription and over-the-counter drugs, according to Thomton.

On April 27, 117 people came to the police station and dropped off unused prescription drugs and over-the-counter supplies for a total of 285.5 pounds, Thomton said.

The exact items collected are not recorded or documented, he said.

“There is no residency requirement,” Thomton said. “In the April event, we had people come from as far away as Golden Valley.”

In the April 2012 take back program, the public turned over 187.25 pounds for destruction, he said.

The Coon Rapids event is part of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s national take back initiative.

“This is an opportunity to safely empty out your medicine cabinet of drugs you don’t need any longer or have expired, including prescription drugs that contain controlled substances,” the DEA states on its website.

About one in eight prescription drugs contain active ingredients that the federal government limits in distribution and handles in a special, secure way, according to the DEA.

The DEA launched the take-back program because of its concern that prescription drugs containing controlled substances are being misused and abused at alarming rates in America today, leading to cases of accidental poisoning, overdose and addiction, and making them a public safety issue.

“A factor contributing to their increased usage is their availability in the home medicine cabinet,” the DEA states.

“In many cases, medicines containing controlled substances remain in the home medicine cabinet long after therapy has been completed, thus making these easily accessible to others who would misuse or abuse them.”

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]