Local law enforcement agencies recently hosted Drug Take Back Day events, giving residents an opportunity to discard unused or expired medications.
These events, regulated by the DEA, happen twice a year but because of coronavirus concerns, law enforcement agencies were forced to cancel drug take back events in the spring, leaving one event for the fall months.
WYDaily contacted the James City County and Williamsburg Police departments as well as the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office to see how much prescription drugs were collected, the most common drugs dropped off and how this year’s numbers compared to last year’s.
James City County
The James City County Police Department’s event was on Oct. 24 and they collected 229 pounds of drugs, said police spokeswoman Stephanie Williams.
“We cannot comment on the most common drugs collected, because they don’t look at them,” she wrote in an email about this year’s event. “All of the drugs are just dropped in a bag.”
Compared to previous years, Williams said in fall 2019, the department received 262 pounds and in the spring, 173 pounds.
“It may be helpful for people to know that there are public disposal locations in the area as well,” she added. “There is a search tool on the DEA website that allows you to search for the closest location to you.”
Other ways residents can get rid of expired medication is to get a “drug disposal bag” from the health department or follow FDA instructions to “safely dispose” of some medicine or syringes at home, she noted, adding links to the resources.
The Williamsburg Police Department also had their Drug Take Back event on the same day as their James City County counterparts. Ninety-three pounds of unused medication was collected, including pain medication such as fentanyl, said police spokesman Charlie Ericsson.
Because WPD partnered up with the Williamsburg Fire Department, Williamsburg Police were also able to collect 25 pounds of sharps.
Williamsburg Police also offers drug disposal bags for smaller medications.
“These bags were provided by the Virginia Department of Health and are available at no cost. These drug disposal bags dissolve the medication so it can be disposed of safely, and have clear instructions for use printed on them,” Ericsson wrote in an email.
The next Drug Take Back event is set for April of 2021, Ericsson said.
The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office had their drug take back event on Oct. 24 — they had a paper shredding event that same day — at the Public Works building on Service Drive.
YPSO spokeswoman Shelley Ward said in just four hours they collected a total of 306 pounds. The office also reported collecting 11,200 pounds of paper for shredding at the event.
Although the sheriff’s office does not collect unwanted medications daily, several pharmacies in area as well as the York-Poquoson Fire Station collects unused medication.
Missed the drug take back event? Here are other locations you can take your unwanted medications:
7529 Richmond Road, Williamsburg
4432 George Washington Memorial Hwy., Yorktown
McDonald Army Health Center
576 Jefferson Avenue, Ft. Eustis
Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center
100 Sentara Circle, Williamsburg
1309 Richmond Road, Williamsburg
Williamsburg Drug Company
240 McLaws Circle, Suite 147, Williamsburg
1310 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg
WYDaily reporters Gabrielle Rente, Julia Marsigliano and Annie Gallo contributed to this report.
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