BPD, local Walgreens team up for national ‘Take Back Day’

Event provides safe, easy disposal of unwanted prescription drugs

The Bartlesville Police Department is teaming up with a local Walgreens store to help area residents safely and legally dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs during the 14th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The event is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 28 in the Walgreens parking lot, located on the northeast corner of Frank Phillips Boulevard and U.S. Highway 75.

Citizens are encouraged to dispose of their old medications and unwanted prescription drugs at a station that will be set up in the Walgreens parking lot. The station will be staffed by a Bartlesville police officer.

“This is an important service, and we encourage everyone to take advantage of it,” said Police Chief Tom Holland.

“Walgreens thought this would be a great opportunity for citizens to be able to dispose of their unwanted medications, and we agreed,” said Capt. Rocky Bevard. “We’re happy to be teaming up with them for this and look forward to a productive event.”

Medications will be accepted at the Walgreens parking lot during the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The event is for pill and patch forms of medication only. No liquids, needles or sharps will be accepted.

The service is free and anonymous — no questions asked, Bevard said.

“We want everyone to feel comfortable in bringing their medications to the site for disposal. This is not a drug enforcement issue — it’s a community service,” he said.

According to the DEA, last April Americans turned in 450 tons, or 900,000 pounds, of prescription drugs at almost 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 13 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 8.1 million pounds — more than 4,050 tons — of pills.

DEA officials say medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse.“Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs,” the agency’s website states. “Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards.”

In addition to the Walgreens parking lot site, the police department lobby — located at Adams Boulevard and Johnstone Avenue — will remain open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 28 for prescription drug disposal.

“We’ll have a collection box inside the front lobby of the police department where drugs can be disposed of during this campaign as well,” Bevard said. “We will make that available that Saturday, October 28, for people who might find that location more accessible.”

“This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” said Holland. “We’re happy that Walgreens has shown initiative in working to make this service available to the public, and we’re happy to be a part of it.”

For more information about the event, call 918-338-4050.