Royal City Medicine Takeover Removes Unnecessary Medicines From Circulation

ROYAL CITY – The prescription drug take-back program in Royal City reported 46 pounds of unused prescription drugs this month, although the take-back events themselves are not overwhelming, Royal City Council heard during its meeting on Tuesday.

“At our first event, we raised around 20 pounds (of prescription drugs), which we thought was a huge success for our first event,” Royal Community Prevention Coalition co-ordinator Brisa Sanchez told the board. “And then the second event, we only collected about 15, so just a small amount. This event, we collected a little less.

The events take place twice a year, and the first was in October 2021, Sanchez told the Herald in an interview on Wednesday.

“The event is called the National Drug Take Back Event,” she said. “This is a national initiative of the Drug Enforcement Agency. What we do is we pick up the drugs at home. We encourage parents, guardians, or older teens who have had surgery, who have medications at home, who have over-the-counter medications that are more potent, (that they) no longer need stop by our events and drop off any extra or expired medications they have.

The October 29 event saw a number of people show up, although only one person actually dropped off drugs. The real success, Brisa said, came from the drop box set up at City Hall. The box, which has been in place since April, could hold 33 pounds of medicine, but was overflowing with an additional 13 pounds, Sanchez said.

“There were a lot of them. I didn’t expect that many,” Royal City Police Chief Rey Rodriguez said at the council meeting.

The goal of the recovery is two-fold, Sanchez said.

“Our goal is to keep drugs out of the waterways, out of the land,” she said. “We know that when medicines are simply thrown away, whether in the trash or flushed down the toilet or down the drain, they can end up in the water and soil of our communities. Our goal is therefore to help members of the community understand the importance of safe disposal of medicines in order to reduce contamination.

The other goal is to keep potentially dangerous drugs out of reach of young people, she added.

The drugs collected are sent to the DEA, which incinerates them. The ashes can then be disposed of safely, Sanchez said.

“A lot of credit (goes) to City Hall because they host this club,” she said. “And it becomes a resource that community members use, which is really amazing for us.”

Joel Martin can be reached at [email protected]

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