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Richmond participates in drug drop-off

on October 28, 2011

Got drugs? The Richmond Police Department wants to safely dispose of them during the third National Take Back Initiative on Saturday.

Police are accepting prescription drugs at the Hilltop Mall at the Richmond Police substation from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Richmond Police Lt. Bisa French said Richmond has a huge drug abuse problem, particularly with kids.

“It’s not something that parents really think of a lot because prescriptions and medications are left out,” she said. “It’s not like alcohol where [parents] keep it locked up. Kids are sneaking prescription drugs from their parents all the time and using them to get high.”

Among the most popular street drugs in Richmond are Xanax, vicodin and hydrocodone, French said. Hydrocodone is a pain reliever commonly found in both pills and cough suppressants.

French said medications are even stolen during burglaries.

“We’ve arrested people for selling those pills on the street,” French said. “Those are prescription drug abuses. And this is a huge epidemic across the nation, not just in Richmond.”

April Rovero, founder and president of the National Coalition Against Drug Abuse, said she gets calls every day from parents throughout the Contra Costa County area whose children have been thrown in jail for prescription drug abuse and sales.

“I had two calls this week from moms who had kids [that] were using and needed to know what to do,” she said.

Rovero said the drug drop-off locations will take any prescriptions for safe disposal, no questions asked. She said names should be blacked out or scratched off of prescription bottles. Pills can also be dumped into plastic baggies.

The drop-off location will also accept cough syrup, vitamins and empty inhalers. Sharp instruments, such as syringes, will only be accepted in Kensington at the fire station on Arlington Ave.

French said safely disposing of these items is important. Flushing medications down the toilet can poison the water systems and throwing prescriptions away unaltered in the trash could put them in the hands of an addict. She said that if someone is unable to dump pills at a drop-off location, they should grind them up with an undesirable substance, such as coffee grounds or kitty litter, before putting them in the trash.

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