MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — For seven years, the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department have organized Drug Take Back days to help rid local streets and communities from prescription drugs.
Officers will be manning drop offs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sheriff’s Department, as well as at Pierpont Landing Pharmacy.
“People that have any narcotics, any medicines that are expired or they want to get rid of, just come by and drop them off,” Sheriff Perry Palmer said. “No questions asked. You don’t have to sign anything. It’s just an easier way and a community service that we offer.”
Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department holds two Drug Take Back days each year, with the last being held in April.
“I believe that we had over 4,000 lbs. collected in West Virginia alone,” Palmer said. “We have two or three boxes at each location, and they’re always filled.”
Dr. Michael LeMasters, owner and manager of Pierpont Landing Pharmacy in Morgantown, said he’s glad to have his business be a part of the twice-annual event.
“Our goal is, out at Pierpont Landing Pharmacy to fill up the back of that police officer’s SUV when he pulls in,” LeMasters said. “So we’ve been putting the word out and doing a PR campaign for our patients, friends, neighbors and community to break last spring’s record. Let’s fill that SUV up and make him come back for another trip.”
The twice-annual Drug Take Back days are not only for narcotics but nearly all prescription medicines, as well as expired over-the-counter medicines such as Aspirin or Tylenol.
“A lot of medicines out there, once they reach a certain point, there is no guarantee in their efficacy or potentcy,” LeMasters said. “It’s not always a good idea to just hang onto them, but I run into those patients at the pharmacy all the time.
“But all medicine does have a shelf life,” he said. “Eventually it does go bad, and you’re better off to have fresh because if need it to work you want it to. You don’t want to guess about that part.”
LeMasters said he is surprised to see, even seven years in, how much prescription medicine is still out in the community that they can not only collect but dispose of properly, which is an key for patients to be aware of.
“What a lot of people don’t realize is they water treatment facilities are not designed to filter out pharmacitcals out of the waste water, so a lot of stuff if it’s flushed, can end up in our drinking water,” he said. “This is an amazing opportunity to keep that out of our water system and dispose of it properly.”
In addition to the Drug Take Back days, a 24/7 drop off is also available at Morgantown Police Department.