Sheriff's department, VA hospital hosting drug take back events this weekend
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Sheriff's Department is hosting two Prescription Drug Take Back events Friday and five on Saturday attempting to keep old, unused and potentially dangerous drugs out of the wrong hands.
The sheriffs department has been doing these events since 2010 and deputies say it has expanded a lot since then.
"It's been a program that has done nothing but grow," Chief Deputy Major Tom Reddin said.
"When we first started this, we collected about 120 lbs. of medication," Reddin said. "On average now, we are collecting 500 to 600 lbs. every time we do this."
Friday's drug take back events will be at Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital and the MU Student Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Even though National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, Reddin said they are hosting events Friday to try and get MU students and faculty to drop off drugs.
"It doesn't make a lot of sense to try and have a collection on a college campus on a Saturday when a lot of students and faculty are not on campus," Reddin said.
Reddin also spoke about how this event helps reduce drug-related crime and keep people safe.
"You look at it from the standpoint of the amount of medication and drugs that we collect at each event," Reddin said. "We gather that much medication, it's that much medication that is no longer going to be on the street."
While getting drugs off the streets is a big concern, it's not the only concern when doing a drug take back.
"The other issue may be that if you try to dispose of them improperly, such as maybe flushing them into the sewer system, those medications can end up in the groundwater supply and ultimately in your drinking water," Jeff Hoelscher, public affairs officer for Truman VA Hospital, said.
Hoelscher also said that their partnership with the sheriff's department in this event is crucial to its success.
"Community partnerships are really important," Hoelscher said. "It's a way for us to work together to solve issues."
Reddin said the biggest event of the weekend will be at Hickman High School on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For a list of all of the sheriff's department's collections this weekend, go to their website.