Pelham Police collect 64 pounds of drugs during take-back day

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Pelham Police Department had a larger-than-expected turnout and collected more than 64 pounds of excess prescription drugs during a recent drug “take-back” day.

During the Sept. 25 event, the department collected unused or old pharmaceuticals and other medicines from city residents who dropped them off at the police department.

After collecting the drugs, Pelham Police handed the collected materials over to the DEA to be disposed of, said Pelham Police Capt. Larry Palmer.

“We had a real good reception from the public,” Palmer said. “We ended up with 64.7 pounds. That just tickled us to death.”

Because of the high response rate, the department is planning on expanding the event next year.

“I definitely plan on doing it again next year,” Palmer said. “We want to try to get a corporate sponsor next year so we can have one collection point on the north end of the city and another on the south end of the city.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to get their narcotics to us,” Palmer added.

Because the police respond to many cases involving pharmaceutical abuse throughout the city each year, the take-back day helps remove a potential drug source from the area, Palmer said.

“It’s a great program. It helps us because pharmaceutical abuse is really a problem in Pelham, just like it is in many other cities,” Palmer said. “Pharmaceuticals are dangerous in the fact that they are extremely addictive. If you have old or extra drugs lying around your house, that could serve as a big source of the problem.

“What we did really was the best way to get rid of unused narcotics,” Palmer added.

Because this year marked the first year for the event, police officers were unsure how much response they would receive from the community, Palmer said.

“The response was unbelievable. I had hoped it would do well, but it blew all of our expectations out of the water,” Palmer said. “We all thought we would get maybe 15 or 20 pounds.

“We never in our wildest dreams thought we would collect more than 50 pounds,” Palmer added.