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Durango police collect 119.2 pounds of medications during October Drug Take-Back Day

The Saturday event will likely set a record for the most medications received by the police department on a National Drug Take Back Day
Cmdr. Casey Malone said Durango police collected 119.2 pounds of medications at Police Substation Three on Saturday during National Drug Take Back Day. (Christian Burney/Durango Herald)

By about 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Durango Police Department collected 119.2 pounds of medications at Police Substation Three in Three Springs during the department’s participation in National Drug Take Back Day.

The take-back event was held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cmdr. Casey Malone said 63 cars stopped by the substation Saturday to drop off unused or excess medications.

Kim Hall said the department collected 115 pounds during the April drug take-back event. Drug Take Back Day occurs twice a year, usually at the end of April and the end of October.

Hall said the drugs collected are handed over to the Drug Enforcement Agency, which destroys them.

Sgt. William Sweetwood said people who participate in the drugs drop-off tend to tell police they hadn’t realized how many medications they had accumulated.

“They’re like, ‘I’m glad you’re doing this because we get it out of here,’” Sweetwood said. “Some of them got ’em, they had surgery or something. A lot of times, after your surgery they give you a whole bunch of drugs that they think you’re gonna need and it sits in their cabinet and they don’t wind up using them.”

Hall said people who had family members in hospice also get rid of extra medications after their family member recovers or dies.

“It’s actually a pretty fun day,” Malone said. “Everybody that comes through has been super friendly, happy to see us and happy that we’re doing this stuff.”

National Drug Take Back Day was created to combat the opioid crisis by spreading awareness and giving families a reminder to clear out their medicine cabinets of unneeded or expired medications.

Sweetwood said it’s important to get rid of unneeded medications so family members or friends, particularly people with addiction issues, don’t come across them. Malone added that disposing of the medications also prevents children from getting their hands on them.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser referenced the take-back event at an opioid workshop in Durango earlier in October and said there should probably be more than just two national awareness days annually because the issue is so important.

cburney@durangoherald.com

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