By Mekialaya White

DENVER (CBS4) – Agencies all across Colorado, including the Denver Police Department, King Soopers and UCHealth, hosted a massive effort on Saturday to safely dispose of prescription drugs. The 20th Annual National Drug Take Back Day encouraged residents to check their medicine cabinets for unwanted, unused or expired medication and drop them off at drug drop locations.

“Typically, we bring back 100-125 pounds just in our district alone,” said Denver Police Resource Officer Kiarra Jenkins. Jenkins managed a District 5 drop-off location at King Soopers in Central Park. “It’s really important because we don’t want these pills to get in the hands of children or addicts. We don’t want anyone to overdose or get sick from these prescription drugs.”

At the last Take Back Day in April 2021, Americans turned in 420 tons (839,543 pounds) of prescription drugs at 5,060 collection sites set up by the DEA and its 4,425 participating law enforcement and community partners across the nation. In Colorado alone, 54 law enforcement agencies collected 8.1 tons (16,221 pounds) of prescription drugs at 82 sites. The previous twenty DEA-coordinated Take Back events nationwide since 2010 have removed 14,524,391 million pounds (7,262 tons) of prescription medications from circulation (334,905 pounds in Colorado).

People told CBS4’s Mekialaya White they chose to drop off their medication for a variety of reasons.

“I just have a couple,” said participant Rosie Nichols. “It’s good for the environment.”

“I had some old prescription medicine from my kids who recovered from colds or flus or old vitamins,” said Corinne Olson-Smith. “I just don’t want to put it in the landfills or the ground water. I know it’ll leech into the ground water, so I’m trying to be environmentally conscious.”

If you missed the event on Saturday, there are year-round disposal sites:
• Avon Police Department, 60 Buck Creek Road, Avon, CO 81620
• Basalt Police Department, 100 Elk Run Drive, STE 115, Basalt, CO 81621
• Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, 0885 E. Chambers Ave, Eagle CO 81631
• Glenwood Springs Police Department, 101 W 8th St, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
• Vail Police Department, 75 S. Frontage Rd, Vail, CO 81657
• Vail Health Hospital, Vail Pharmacy, 180 S Frontage Rd W, Vail, CO 81657
• Shaw Center, Edwards Pharmacy, 322 Beard Creek Rd., Edwards, CO 81632
Each agency hosts year-round drop boxes as part of the Colorado Household Medication Take Back Program sponsored by the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention. Look for the green, drug disposal boxes at the Vail Municipal Building, Avon Public Safety Facility, the Eagle County Justice Center main entrance, Basalt Police Department lobby, and at both Vail Health pharmacies.

For more information, and to locate a drug drop location near you, visit www.takemedsback.org.

Mekialaya White