Sunday, 24/1/2021 | : : UTC-5
Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

100 pounds of drugs collected

100 pounds of drugs collected

Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the City of Harker Heights Police Department participated in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative.

The department collected approximately 100 pounds of prescription drugs on Saturday.

“I’ve been doing this (program) for five years now and I’ve seen an increase in amount turned in every time,” said Officer Roosevelt Wilson, Jr., public information officer, administrative sergeant for the City of Harker Heights Police Department.

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative was created in 2010 to address the growing public health issue of prescription drug abuse and environmental impact of prescription drugs in the soil and water supply.

“There is a real need for proper disposal of medications,” said pharmacist, Joe Ahmed, pharmacy manager of Walgreens in Harker Heights.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.5 million Americans have abused controlled prescription drugs. The prescription drugs abused primarily came from a friend or family’s medicine cabinet.

“We don’t actually take the drugs back on a pharmacy level, so many patients will get stuck with excess drugs that will just sit around. A lot of drug overdoses or adverse effects from drugs occur because medications that aren’t being used are left around within reach of adults or children obtaining them,” said Ahmed.

As the number of medication prescriptions increase, the rates of accidental children poisoning from prescription drugs rise. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, children five years and under and teenagers between 13 and 19 are most at risk of accidental overdose.

“By having places for people to turn in, you’ll have less places for people to get them,” said Wilson.

Improper disposal of medications can also lead to environmental contamination. The World Health Organization states, flushing unused or expired medication, especially non-biodegradable antibiotics and antineoplastics can contaminate water supplies and disrupt aquatic life. Disposing the drugs into the sewage system could kill the bacteria necessary for sewage treatment.

“There is not a very strong process of getting rid of these excess drugs, so patients will resort to disposing of them improperly. We usually have someone ask what to do with their medications at least once a week. It’s a very common issue. It’s nice to see that the DEA has an event for people to be able to get rid of them,” said Ahmed.

There will be a second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in the fall at the Harker Heights Police Department. To find other locations and more information on drug disposal initiative visit,


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