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County conducts mass prescription drug take-back event

Thursday, October 27, 2022 by Seth Smalley

Saturday is prescription drug take-back day across the United States. On Tuesday, county commissioners unanimously passed a proclamation recognizing the day across Travis County.

Local constables are teaming up with the Drug Enforcement Administration to carry out the event. Residents can anonymously drop off expired or unwanted prescription drugs at any of the five precinct locations across the county, “no questions asked.”

“I’d like to note that we are really excited to have partnered with the constable’s office this year for the events,” said Amanda Kemp, a project manager at the Travis County Sustainability Team.

Controlled substance disposal services are also offered year-round at a dropbox located at the Precinct 5 constable’s office, in addition to several locations around Austin.

“The prescription drug take-back day is a day for every American and every community across the country to do his or her part to fight the opioid crisis by disposing of unwanted prescription medications from the medicine cabinet,” Commissioner Jeffrey Travillion said, reading from the proclamation.

Prescription drug take-back day is a project of the DEA that was launched when the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration jointly declared leftover prescription drugs to be a public safety and health issue.

“The misuse and improper disposal of expired and unwanted prescription drugs is a growing problem nationwide and threatens local water supplies,” according to a county press release.

“Disposing of unwanted or unused prescription medication safely, rather than throwing them away or flushing them into our sewer system, prevents them from getting in the water supply,” Travillion said. “And disposing of unwanted or unused prescription medication regularly prevents them from finding their way into the wrong hands.”

According to the resolution, the DEA has collected 16 million pounds of unwanted prescription drugs since the start of the program in 2010.

“I just wanted to say the degrees that separate us from people who are affected by addiction are fewer than we think,” said Florida Coakley, a peace officer of Precinct 1. “Some people make it out of the trenches and some people don’t because the hill to recovery was just too hard. Drug take-back day was created to reduce the risk of addiction by eliminating unused medication that may be misappropriated or fall into the wrong hands.”

“It’s big for helping our community, protecting our environment and also protecting our pets. Medicines left in the cabinet could fall out,” Sergeant Michael de Leon said. “We’re going across the board with all the constables’ offices in Travis County to help.”

Drop-off locations: 

  • Precinct 1: 4717 Heflin Lane, Ste. 127
  • Precinct 2: 10409 Burnet Road, Ste. 150
  • Precinct 3: 8656-B W. Highway 71, Ste. 132
  • Precinct 4: 4011 McKinney Falls Pkwy., Ste. 1100
  • Precinct 5: 1003 Guadalupe St. 

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