Drug disposal event set for Saturday

Posted: Friday, September 24, 2010

Ditch unwanted prescription and over the counter drugs at the Soldotna Professional Pharmacy and Kenai or Homer Police Departments tommorrow from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Any legal drug - pill, powder or potion - can be disposed at the event with "no questions asked," said pharmacist Justin Ruffridge.

Kenai Police Chief Gus Sandahl said that liquids must be in their original container. He recommended residents remove identifying labels or cross off their names with black markers. Unused or expired drugs will be placed in a box, sealed and taken by the Alaska State Troopers to the Drug Enforcement Administration, who is organizing the event nationwide.

Ruffridge said that any over the counter or prescription drug can be disposed of, but no illicit drugs can be brought.

The police chief said that prescription drugs can turn into health hazards if left unattended.

"A curious child could get their hands on them," he said.

Methamphetimines and heroin pose their own problems, but prescription drugs are the abusers' substance of choice on the Peninsula. Kenai police have investigated 324 drug crimes in the past three years. The majority of them involve prescription drugs, according to the chief.

"We have had several overdose deaths in the last 12 years from prescription medical abuse," the chief said.

He said that Xanax, Oxycontin and Percocet are commonly abused drugs. Anti-anxiety and pain killers are often targets of pharmaceutical abuse, too. The chief encouraged residents with unused or expired drugs to dispose of them to prevent theft and misuse.

Drugs are normally stolen from the parked cars and homes. Sandahl said that those who report crimes often know who snagged the drugs.

Tony Cella can be reached at tony.cella@peninsulaclarion.com.



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