Departments holding drug take-back day

Several Shelby County law enforcement agencies will offer prescription drug drop-off locations on Saturday, Sept. 29. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Several Shelby County law enforcement agencies will give local residents a chance to cut down on potential drug abuse while doing a bit of fall cleaning in their medicine cabinets.

From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, law enforcement officials across the county will set up drop-off points for unused prescription drugs.

The drop-off points will be at the Target store in Alabaster’s Colonial Promenade shopping center, at the Greystone YMCA at 5414 U.S. 280, at the Pelham Police Department at 32 Philip Davis St., at the University of Montevallo’s Department of Public Safety Station and at the Winn Dixie supermarket at 2653 Valleydale Road.

During the drop-off day, law enforcement officials will collect unused or unwanted prescription drugs, no questions asked.

“It’s real easy. We will set it up almost like a drive-through,” said Pelham police Lt. Larry Palmer. “You don’t even have to get out of your car. You can drive through, drop off your prescription drugs and be on your way.”

Palmer said anyone concerned about personal identity information on prescription pill bottles should remove the bottle’s label or mark through the label with a permanent marker.

Palmer said the take-back days are aimed at cutting down on a source of potential drug abuse many people overlook. He said studies have shown prescription drug abuse is more prevalent than marijuana and cocaine use combined.

“Doctors will fill a legitimate prescription with 10, 20 or 30 pills, and a person may take five or they may take none at all,” Palmer said. “Then family members or visitors can find them and abuse them.

“There seems to be periods of time when prescription drugs are the drug of choice among high school students because they are easily accessible,” Palmer added.

After the departments collect the prescription drugs, they will turn them over to the Drug Enforcement Administration to dispose of properly.

“This gives people an opportunity to dispose of their unwanted prescriptions without flushing them and damaging the environment,” Palmer said. “We are excited to be a part of it.”