Posted on 01 October 2015 by La Habra Journal
The Police Department takes part in nationwide campaign.
By Kelsey Hutchinson
La Habra Journal
A steady flow of people dropped off bags and boxes of drugs at the La Habra Police Department Saturday. The residents and the LHPD were taking part in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in the front lobby of the police station. The event allowed people to safely dispose of their unwanted, unused and expired prescription medications. Many might wonder why it is important to participate in these types of events. The answer is simple, according to La Habra Police Captain Jeff Swaim, “It all comes down to the safety of people in the community.,” Swaim said. “Flushing medications or throwing them in the trash is unsafe.” When medications fall into the wrong hands or are accidentally ingested by a small child or a beloved family pet, the consequences can be devastating and even deadly. Having a central location for the public to drop off their medications is one way to prevent these types of tragedies from occurring in our community. Two people on the frontline of today’s event at the La Habra Police Department were Police Service Aids Savanna Stouffer and Kyle Ferris, both of them first-time volunteers. “I like that we can provide and connect with the community through this event,” Ferris said. He and Stouffer spent the day answering questions and helping residents, like Margaret Fechtner, properly dispose of their medications. Fechtner explained that she wanted to do the right thing and dispose of her old medication, but didn’t know where to go. “I tried taking my prescriptions to Kaiser Permanente, but they wouldn’t take all of my bottles,” she said. “They even charged me and told me I had to fill out an envelope with my name on it.” Fechtner explained that she searched unsuccessfully to find any place that would take the unused medications. She jokingly said she was about to dig a hole in her back yard and bury them.
So, what happens to all the medications collected by La Habra Police? Drug Enforcement Agency officials were assigned to various police stations and drop-off locations throughout the country. They collected all of the medications that were turned in and will safely destroy them in the coming weeks. To date, the DEA has collected over 509 tons of medications from collection centers like the La Habra Police Department. Many who attended the event liked that they could anonymously drop off their medications without any questions or fees. “It was so easy to come in and drop my medications off,” Fechtner said. “They even pulled off the labels that had my name on it and let me take them home so I could shred them.”
Another take back event will be held in spring.