'The problem is too often these medications end up in the wrong hands'
EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon ranks in the top 10 percent for dealing with prescription drug abuse. Eugene Police made a community-wide effort Sunday to stop crime before it happened by hosting a drug turn-in event.
The DEA began issuing National Prescription Drug Take Back Day five years ago. The goal is to give community members a chance to prevent prescription drug abuse.
"Well the importance is really to try to get these medications in a safer place, which is if they're not being used, being destroyed," said Dr. Joshua Haber from Pain Consultants of Oregon.
The Pain Consultants of Oregon gives locals an opportunity to anonymously dispose their leftover medications so that everything from over the counter and prescription medications to vitamins and supplements are not left unattended.
"We have quite a few people to drive up like this They'll be actually emptying drawers of medications from relatives who are no longer at home," Haber said.
He said the last time they had the event was two years ago where they collected 1,100 pounds of disposed medication.
"The problem is too often these medications end up in the wrong hands. People that they're not prescribed for," he said.
He said prescription drugs pose an imminent threat to youth. One fifth of teenagers in the Lane County community have used narcotics or anxiety-type medications. These drugs can be dangerous when they're not prescribed.
Deputies from the Lane County Sheriff's Office volunteered at the event and took charge of disposing the medications at a landfill and incinerating them.
"I think the best part is knowing that we are safely destroying it. It's not going into the rivers. It's not going down people's toilets and it's staying out of the wrong people's hands," said Cari Soong from the Lane County Sheriff's Office.
For everyone at the event, it was a chance to make a difference and put abandoned drugs in their proper place.
Dr. Haber recommends not taking prescription medication in front of young children in case they try to imitate you.
If you missed the Drug Take Back Day, there are free drug drop boxes around the community.
Here is a list of them:
Coburg Police Department
91069 N. Willamette St. (M-F, 8-5)
Cottage Grove Police Department
400 E. Main St. (24 hours)
Lane County Sheriff's Office
125 E. 8th Ave. (M-F, 8-5)
Eugene Police Department
300 Country Club Rd. (24 hours)
Oakridge Police Department
76435 Ash St. (24 hours)
Springfield Justice Center
230 4th St. (M-F, 8-5)