COMMERCE CITY, COLO. - Nearly every American household has old or expired prescriptions in their home - and many more are unaware of how to safely dispose of these medications. In 2009, seven million Americans over the age of 12 were using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes, an increase of 13 percent from the previous year.
To help stop abuse of prescription drugs, Commerce City is taking part in the third annual Prescription Drug Roundup. This nationwide event is Saturday, October 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The city will host two sites for residents to confidentially dispose of their drugs at the Commerce City Civic Center, 7887 E. 60th Ave., and the city's police substation, 18240 E. 104th Ave.
"Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends," said Commerce City Police Officer Kayla Fender, who is coordinating the city's drug roundup. "A concerning statistic for us is the increasing number of teens - nearly 2,500 a day on average - who use prescription drugs to get high for the first time. Many of these teens don't believe prescription pain relievers are addictive and are much safer than other illegal drugs, which isn't accurate."
More than 9,000 pounds of expired, unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs were collected just in Colorado during last year's roundup. At a similar event in April, the Commerce City Police Department collected 89.6 pounds of drugs from community members.
Residents can drop of unused and expired prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Items that will not be accepted are needles and sharps, oxygen containers, chemotherapy/radioactive substances, pressurized canisters, mercury thermometers or illicit drugs. Fender said it's a good idea to tear the label off the container or put all the unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs in a plastic bag.
"This program is confidential - the goal is to get these items out of medicine cabinets and safely disposed of," Fender added. "We understand the importance of remaining anonymous and won't be asking any questions or requesting identification."
For more information about the city's drug roundup, contact Fender at 303-727-3925.