The Alexandria Police Department, Sheriff’s Office and the Substance Abuse Coalition of Alexandria teamed with the Drug Enforcement Administration to collect 165 pounds of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, residents dropped off their potentially dangerous prescriptions at police headquarters on Wheeler Avenue and in the breezeway next to the Neighborhood Pharmacy of Del Ray on Mount Vernon Avenue. The service was free and anonymous.
“Most people throw them out of flush them and they end up in our water. It’s important that [these drugs] be incinerated,” said Stacey Swartz, owner of the Neighborhood Pharmacy. “We have a [drug disposal] program at the pharmacy. People bring stuff in everyday, but we can’t always take everything—things like oxycodone. So it was good people were able to get rid of that stuff the right way.”
More than 3,100 pounds were collected in the Northern Virginia area on Saturday.
This initiative addressed a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse, according to Alexandria's police department. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.