The Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) will host a collection for over-the-counter and prescription drugs this Friday and Saturday. The collection will be free, anonymous and open to all members of the public.
The drug collection drive’s timing reflects a broader effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to collect surplus medical drugs. A DEA press release estimated that 5,600 collection sites will be open nationwide on Saturday, including – in the local area – sites hosted by the Redwood City, Mountain View and Fremont police departments.
Vince Bergado, the Stanford drive coordinator, said that no specific incident had prompted SUDPS’ participation in the broader effort. He noted, however, that SUDPS has received calls in the past enquiring about the disposal of medical drugs.
“There aren’t a whole lot of opportunities out there [for the safe disposal of prescription drugs],” Bergado said.
According to the DEA, an estimated 6.8 million Americans abuse prescription drugs; in 2010, 22,134 Americans died from prescription drug overdoses. The disposal of those drugs can be problematic as well – for example, flushing unused medicine down the sink presents potentially negative health effects for fish and other wildlife.
SUDPS spokesman Bill Larson emphasized that the drive would help students avoid the misuse of prescription drugs.
“It’s important for students to know [that] they have a place to dispose [their medication] – and hopefully not give it to someone else,” Larson said.
Medicines turned in during the SUDPS collection drive, including medical narcotics, will be disposed of safely. However, the drive will not collect any injectable medicine, nor the needles or other medical sharps that accompany it. Those items can instead be dropped off at Vaden Health Services.
This weekend’s drug collection drive will be the third time that SUDPS has participated in drug collection drives, with the first two drives taking place in the spring and winter of 2013. According to Bergado, approximately 100 people participated in the last drug collection drive, filling 14 bins with collected drugs in the process.
Contact Caleb Smith at caleb17 ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.