CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Law enforcement agencies are working to reduce additional overdose deaths in West Virginia by taking part in a nationwide initiative this weekend.
Saturday is National Drug Take Back Day.
Police officers, sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcement officials will be at more than 70 sites across the state where people can dispose of their unwanted, unused or expired medications from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Lt. David Payne, public services division commander with the Charleston Police Department, said there’s a number of reasons why these items need to be tossed out.
“Either someone may have passed away and they’re still at their house. They may not need the medication anymore. It could be expired,” he said.
The event is a way to safely get rid of pill bottles that otherwise could get into the hands of those who would abuse the drug, Payne said.
“We don’t want them disposed of in garbage cans, waste ways, we just don’t want the wrong people getting a hold of them,” he said.
The Drug Enforcement Administration organizes the national event.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia Will Thompson wrote in in a news release his office is ready to partner with federal, state and local agencies to prevent further tragedies involving drugs.
“This is an easy measure to prevent the abuse of medication and cut off a potential gateway to addiction,” Thompson said. “We know that a majority of opioid use disorders in West Virginia and nationwide start with prescription pills found at home.”
Tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms of prescription drugs will be collected. Liquids (including intravenous solutions), syringes and other sharps, and illicit drugs will not be accepted. The DEA will accept vaping devices and cartridges provided lithium batteries are removed.
To find a Drug Take Back location near you, visit the DEA’s website here.