STANISLAUS COUNTY — Five sheriffs offices in Stanislaus County will offer permanent drug collection boxes for the disposal of prescription medications.
The program was launched Friday with the unveiling of the first collection box at the Stanislaus County Sheriffs Department headquarters on East Hackett Road in Modesto. Collection boxes are being installed Tuesday and will open Thursday at sheriffs substations in Patterson, Riverbank, Waterford and Hughson, said Jennifer Marsh of Stanislaus Countys Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.
As prescription medication abuse and addiction rates rise, so (do) the negative community impacts associated with addiction. Statistics have shown that the number of residential burglaries and thefts, specifically targeting prescription medications, have risen in nearby communities, according to a county news release. Some of those who have been interviewed regarding their addiction have said their main source of prescription medication was friends or family. Others have actually gone as far as visiting Open Houses for Sale on the weekends and stealing prescription medications from medicine cabinets.
The collection boxes are in addition to biannual disposal events offered since 2009 in an event called Drop the Drugs, sponsored by the Stanislaus County Drug Enforcement Agency and Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.
After hosting over 20 Drop the Drugs take-back events in Stanislaus County over a five-year period, county staff have collected and disposed of over 8,900 pounds of prescription medications that were accumulating in homes throughout the county, authorities said.
The April 26 disposal event was part of the most recent Drug Enforcement Administration National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. More than 40,854 pounds of unwanted prescription medications were taken out of circulation in Northern California and the Central Valley thanks to the free and anonymous service.
People could drop off unwanted medications at more than 207 collection sites.
Since the first DEA-coordinated Take-Back event, more than 107 tons of prescription medications have been removed from circulation in the Central Valley and Northern California. The April 26 event was the largest.
The overwhelming community response to National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day highlights the value of the program and commitment of the public in combating prescription drug abuse, DEA Special Agent in Charge Jay Fitzpatrick said in a prepared statement. The success of this event is made possible only through invaluable partnerships with our federal, state, and local law enforcement counterparts.
The drop-off sites are necessary because there is no other legal way for people to dispose of unwanted or unused prescription medications, whether for people or animals. The DEA sponsors two take-back days a year with the cooperation of local law-enforcement agencies.
Among the local agencies participating in April were police departments in Lathrop, Lodi, Manteca, Ripon, Stockton and Tracy as well as the Calaveras and San Joaquin county sheriffs departments.
The Record (Stockton) contributed to this report.