Santa Fe County Taking Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs
On Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. members of the public can turn in unwanted prescription drugs anonymously and free of charge. The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office, City of Santa Fe Police, New Mexico State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Santa Fe County Health and Human Services is partnering with these agencies giving the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding home medicine cabinets of these drugs.
There are six locations around Santa Fe County where people can safely dispose of their drugs:
Smith’s Grocery Store, 2101 S. Pacheco and 2308 Cerrillos Rd
Wal-Mart Super Center “New Wal-Mart”, 5701 Herrera Rd
Agora Pharmacy, 7 Avenida Vista Grande
Smith’s Grocery Store, 2B State Road 344
Santa Fe County Fire Station, 17919 US Highway 84/285.
“In order to fight the war on drugs we must fight the war on addiction. Sometimes these addictions begin at a very young age with available drugs in our own medicine cabinets. This program can help eliminate the accessibility of prescription drugs from our children and teenagers,” said Santa Fe County Sheriff, Robert Garcia.
Last September more than 700 pounds of unwanted medications were collected in Santa Fe. Americans turned in 244 tons of prescription drugs at over 5,200 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners nationally. In its five previous Take Back events, the DEA and its partners took in over 2 million pounds—over a thousand tons of pills.
“Prescription drug abuse is an alarming problem in Santa Fe County. Sadly, far too many people -- young people in particular -- have easy access to narcotic prescription drugs. Drug Take Back Day is a good opportunity to get rid of unused and out-of-date medicines. There are many locations throughout the county at which unwanted drugs can be dropped off, making the event an easy way to remove this danger from our homes,” said Kathy Holian, Santa Fe County Board of Commissioners Chair.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. According to the New Mexico Department of Health Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, rates of prescription drug abuse in Santa Fe County and the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. The majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines which often includes flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, both pose potential safety and health hazards.