Many locals used this weekend as a chance to clean out their medicine cabinets by bringing unused prescription drugs to a take-back event coordinated by the Santa Barbara Police Department.
During the event, people dropped off more than 80 pounds of prescription drugs over the four-hour event with Officer Jon Reyes at the La Cumbre Plaza shopping center, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood.
On Saturday, the department partnered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to hold National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day to provide a place for people to dispose of their unwanted or unused prescriptions instead of keeping them in their homes where they could be used by people without prescriptions or end up in the water table if people try to flush the pills down the toilet.
In the six previous SBPD take-back events with the DEA, in conjunction with state, local and tribal law enforcement partners, more than 2.8 million pounds of prescription medications were removed from circulation, Harwood said.
During the last event in Santa Barbara, nine garbage bags full of prescription medications were collected in four hours, he said, adding that the department will continue to participate in the events that are coordinated nationally by the DEA.
“We staff the four-hour events with our personnel at a location of our choosing based on our local knowledge of where we think it will be effective,” he said, adding that the DEA handles the storage and disposal of the drugs, which would be burdensome to the Police Department. “It’s a partnership between our agencies that seems to work well.”
In addition to SBPD’s take-back events, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department also has a permanent disposal drop-off location outside its main offices at 4434 Calle Real.