By Joel Hillan

DENVER (CBS4) – This week President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. On Saturday, Denver police participated in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Peg McKecknie took the opportunity Saturday morning to follow the advice of her goddaughter who is getting her Doctorate of Pharmacy and get rid of drugs that have expired or aren’t used anymore.

“I saw the ad and thought, ‘Well I’ve got some I might as well bring them over here,’” she said.

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“This has been designed really to just take as much of this unwanted drugs medications off the street and provide for a safe way to dispose of them,” Sgt. Brian O’Neill said.

Rich Westra also showed up on Saturday to do his part.

“We had different prescription drugs from the last couple years and we didn’t want to put them down in the wastewater, so we wanted to recycle them in a safe place,” he said.

And it really starts to add up.

“We literally have 10 or more 20+ gallon trash bags by the end of this and we only do it four hours, so it is a significant amount,” said O’Neill.

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Common prescription painkillers like Oxycodone are opioids. They can be targets for thieves and children, and if disposed of improperly can end up in the water supply.

“Even if you can’t measure the success of it, just looking at the sheer volume of stuff that we are taking in, makes you feel good knowing it’s got to have a positive impact,” added O’Neill.

During the most recent National Drug Take Back Day in April, the DEA collected 900,386 pounds of unwanted medicines. That’s the weight equivalent of 193 police patrol SUVs.

Additional Resources

See an interactive map for prescription drug drop off locations across Colorado.

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.


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