Drug take-back brings in nearly 300 pounds

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Pelham Police Department, the Shelby County Drug Free Coalition and the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force together collected nearly 300 pounds of unused and expired medication April 30 during the county’s drug take-back day.

The Pelham Police Department brought in about 16.5 pounds of medication and other controlled substances during the day, and the Drug Free Coalition and the Drug Enforcement Task Force collected more than 250 pounds.

During the day, the organizations set up drop-off points at a few locations across the county and allowed residents to drop off everything from pills to liquid cough syrup.

Because medicine cabinets in local homes often serve as sources for drug abuse, the trio of organizations were attempting to cut down on the amount of excess medication in the county.

“I think it went really well,” said Carol Williams, project coordinator for the Drug Free Coalition. “I believe we got more than 250 pounds, which is excellent.

“We were all pretty blown away by the numbers we got,” Williams added.

Pelham Police Capt. Larry Palmer said the April 27 severe weather and subsequent recovery efforts may have hampered the department’s medication collection.

“It’s kind of disappointing. We only took in 16-and-a-half-pounds of prescription drugs that day, but that’s still 16-and-a-half pounds that are not on the street,” Palmer said, noting the department’s goal was 100 pounds.

“I think with all the severe weather incidents across the state, a lot of people may have had other things on their minds,” Palmer added. “We are still calling it a success because we took that many out of medicine cabinets. That’s 16-and-a-half pounds that people can’t abuse.”

Palmer said the Drug Enforcement Agency, which helped organize the Pelham take-back day, is planning to hold a second take-back day this year when severe weather is not the area’s main topic.

“Usually, it’s a once-a-year event, but I think DEA is talking about doing it again in October of this year or maybe a little later,” Palmer added.