As a member of the IACP Community Policing Committee, I have the privilege of helping reveiw the annual submissions for the IACP Community Policing Award sponsored by CISCO. Several years ago, I reviewed a submission from Snohomish County, Washington regarding a medication dispoal program. This is an excellent program that we were able to adopt for our use at the Grand Prairie, Texas Police Department. I wanted to share the basics of this program and emphasize the benefits of collaboration as we collectively move policing from an occupation into a profession. Community initiatives, such as those in Snohomish County and Grand Prairie, transcend us beyond our traditional policing roles and into helping improve the quality of life in our communities.
Grand Prairie Police Department Medication Disposal Program
Unsecured and unused prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs, at times, fall into the wrong hands only to be abused. This abuse can lead to serious consequences including addiction, injury and even death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that, in 2010 alone, one in 20 people in the United States used painkillers without a prescription and prescription overdoes over the past decade have exceeded heroin and cocaine overdoses combined.
In addition to the abuse of unwanted and unsecured medicine, the improper disposal of these products has also contributed to the contamination of the public water supply in many cities. Several studies have revealed quantities of pain medication, sex hormones, antibiotics, birth control, caffeine, anti-epileptic, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and anti-seizure compounds in many water samples taken across the country. Furthermore, there is little information available as to the long-term effects of the low-exposure to these contaminants in humans.
In an effort to further protect the citizens ofGrand Prairie, the Grand Prairie Police Department has developed the Medication Disposal Program. This program is free to Grand Prairie residents and provides a convenient means of disposing of unwanted medicine. By properly disposing of any unused prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, the risk of abuse and level of contamination to the water supply are both minimized.
Citizens can participate in the Grand Prairie Police Department’s Medication Disposal Program by bringing their unwanted items to the Grand Prairie Public Safety Building, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. No appointment is needed and a police property room employee will be present to assist in the disposal process.
Accepted items include:Narcotics (Oxycodone, Vicodin, etc.) Medication samples Medications for pets Medicated ointments (prescription and over-the-counter) Over-the-counter drugs/medications Vitamins Inhalers EpiPens (unopened)
Items that cannot be accepted include:Needles/syringes Thermometers IV bags or bloody infectious waste Personal care products Hydrogen peroxide or other chemicals Aerosol cans EpiPens (used) Mercury products Iodine solutions Radioactive material Business waste Empty containers
A police property room employee will screen the items and assist citizens with properly tagging and sealing them into a secure bag. The disposed products will be transferred into the Grand Prairie Police Department Property Room and later destroyed in accordance with police department policy and legal statutes.
The improper disposal of unwanted medications and drug products can place the community’s health and safety at risk through the abuse of these products, as well as the contamination of the water supply. The Grand Prairie Police Department’s Medication Disposal Program is a community policing effort to minimize these risks and further protect citizens by offering an easy, secure method of disposal.