Clark, Champaign law enforcement host Drug Take Back events

Law enforcement agencies in Clark and Champaign counties collected more than 130 pounds of unused medication during the National Drug Take Back campaign.

The national campaign took place the last weekend of October, which is geared toward preventing prescription pill abuse and theft by ridding homes of unused or expired medication.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a majority of people who misuse prescription medication obtained the medicine from a family member or friend. Both the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and the North Lewisburg Police Department participated in the national event.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has participated in the national campaign for several years.

Last weekend, the sheriff’s office hosted events at the Springview Government Center on East Main Street in Springfield and the Tecumseh High School building on West National Road. Participants were able to drive up to the site and have deputies pick up their items from their vehicles.

Deputies collected 133 pounds of medication at the weekend event, according to Brian Melchi, who works in the sheriff’s office investigations division.

The sheriff’s office accepts pills, patches and vaping devices annually, although it received no vaping products at this fall’s event.

Melchi said the sheriff’s office also gave out 100 at-home pill disposal bags.

“If people have medications they need to get rid of quicker than the drug take back day, they can use these at-home bags to safely dispose of them as well,” Melchi said.

The North Lewisburg Police Department also hosted a safety and drug take-back event in Champaign County last week, seeing several individuals coming to the East Maple Street drop-off location to dispose of their old medication, according to North Lewisburg police chief Scott Bodey.

Bodey said the police department has not weighed the disposed medication, but it received a variety of non-prescription and prescription medication, including some items that contained fentanyl.

Bodey said his department has been working to connect with senior citizens in the area to teach them how to properly dispose of old medication.

The take-back events in both counties were free and anonymous.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) encourages everyone to clean out their medicine cabinet of prescription medication they do not need and give it to local collection sites where it can be disposed of safely.

Last year, law enforcement agencies participating in the national take-back events, held in April and October nationwide, collected nearly 800 tons of unused prescription drugs, according to the DEA.

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