Local law enforcement officials said they collected a record 875 pounds of unused prescription drugs Saturday as part of a nationwide "Drug Take-Back Day."
Douglas County residents were invited to drop off their unwanted medications Saturday at two locations near the Lawrence Police Department's offices and the the Douglas County Courthouse. The police department and sheriff's office organized the local effort with support from the Drug Enforcement Administration, which sponsors Drug Take-Back Day, said Lt. Steve Lewis, a sheriff's office spokesman.
Saturday's haul was a record for Douglas County, Lewis said, despite the rainy weather. Last year, the Drug Take-Back Day collected only 300 pounds. And Saturday's collection brought all kinds of offerings, from a resident with one or two pill bottles to a medical professional with several large boxes of expired drugs, said Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence Police Department spokesman.
"Everyone seemed to want to do their part to see these medications didn’t end up in the wrong hands, or in our water systems and landfills," McKinley said. "It was very much a community effort."
About 1.5 billion doses of prescription drugs go unused each year, federal authorities say, leading to accidents and dangerous misuse. All of the drugs collected Saturday were placed in a secure box for destruction by the DEA.