Wednesday, July 24, 2024

The Historic Triangle is not immune to the opioid crisis. Saturday is a chance for you to make a difference

Police departments have been participating in the national Drug Take Back event since 2010 to collect extra and unused prescription medications. (WYDaily/Courtesy Williamsburg Police Department)
Police departments have been participating in the national Drug Take Back event since 2010 to collect extra and unused prescription medications. (WYDaily/Courtesy Williamsburg Police Department)

As the opioid epidemic continues to sweep the nation, police departments in the Historic Triangle are continuing to participate in the Drug Take Back event to prevent its impact in the area.

“The opioid epidemic has reached the Williamsburg area, but we have been fortunate that it has not had a severe impact yet,” said Maj. Greg Riley, spokesman for the Williamsburg Police Department.

The Drug Take Back event is a national effort from the Drug Enforcement Administration to collect unused or expired prescription drugs twice a year that began in 2010.

The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office, Williamsburg Police and James City County Police have all participated in the event for multiple years and collected more weight in prescription medicine each year.

In 2012, Williamsburg collected only 140 p

The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office collected 185 pounds of medications at their last collection in April. (WYDaily/Courtesy YPSO)
The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office collected 185 pounds of medications at their last collection in April. (WYDaily/Courtesy YPSO)

ounds but in the last year this number has risen to 242 pounds. In April, DEA records show that the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office collected 185 pounds of medications and JCC Police collected 257 pounds.

The drugs are collected without question and placed in a container. The DEA or individual police departments don’t keep records of the types of drugs disposed because of the sheer volume that are collected, according to the departments.

The important thing is just making sure they don’t get into the wrong hands, said Melvin Patterson, DEA spokesman.

“People are taking ownership in fighting the opioid crisis and making sure it isn’t available to the people they love to abuse,” he said.

Once the drugs are collected, the DEA brings the hundreds of pounds across the state to the closest office, Patterson said. They are transported in trucks with armed guards and taken to an incineration center.

But as the numbers rise so does prescription drug awareness.

“I think there’s something to be said looking at the toppling weight collected,” Patterson said. “People are becoming more aware of the dangers and we’re seeing that.”

About four out of five people begin abusing pain medications from their own homes, Patterson said. Many people have these prescriptions and then just end up leaving them in their medicine cabinets and forgetting about them.

But for the past eight years, the DEA has been working with local counties across the nation to give people a safe way to dispose of them.

“Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse leading to accidental poisoning, addiction and overdose,” Riley said.

On Saturday, drop-off centers will be open in York at the DARE office or in Williamsburg at the Williamsburg Fire Department between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Liquids, needles or sharps will not be accepted.

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

Related Articles

MORE FROM AUTHOR