Local police on Saturday will help you safely dispose of the medicine you don’t need anymore | SteamboatToday.com

Local police on Saturday will help you safely dispose of the medicine you don’t need anymore

Sharon Pace drops off items during the Prescription Take Back Day in October at the Steamboat Springs Police Department. The event will take place again from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Saturday at the police department and the Oak Creek Town Hall.

— Local police and human service organizations hope community members again will take advantage of a chance to safely dispose of the medicine they no longer need.

"It certainly is effective," Steamboat Springs Police Department Deputy Chief Bob DelValle said about National Prescription Drug TakeBack Day. "People are recognizing they don't want to have old or unnecessary drugs around the house that maybe a young child who has abuse issues could get a hold of."

The police department will collect expired or unused medications from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the police station on Yampa Street.

Drugs also will be collected at the Oak Creek Town Hall.

Both locations will not accept needles, mercury, oxygen containers, pressurized containers, radioactive substances or illicit drugs.

The last time Steamboat participated in the event in October, police collected about 85 pounds of drugs.

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Nationwide, 647,211 pounds of drugs were safely disposed of.

Human service organizations said the Take Back Day, which now occurs every six months, is a way to help prevent drug abuse.

It is especially a concern for teenagers who could gain access to their parents' medication.

The Take Back Day was created because recipients of prescription drugs were hard-pressed to find a way to dispose of the medicines without the risk of them getting collected from trash or affecting water supplies if they were flushed down the toilet.

In Colorado, prescription drug abuse is a significant issue.

According to a 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Colorado has the second-highest rate of prescription pain medication abuse in the country.

And according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, yearly deaths in Colorado due to drug-related poisoning more than doubled from 351 in 2000 to 838 in 2011.

A winter 2012 survey of local students found that 17 percent of Routt County students reported having abused or misused drugs during their lifetime.

National surveys have found an average of 20 percent of students have abused or misused them.

The state last year created a prescription drug abuse prevention plan that set a 2016 goal of preventing 92,000 Coloradans from misusing opioids.

To help prevent drug abuse, the plan recommended such things as expanding the drug take-back programs, creating permanent drop-off sites and using social marketing campaigns to increase awareness.

The drug take-back day in Steamboat is a partnership among the city of Steamboat, the town of Oak Creek, Grand Futures of Routt County, the Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Colorado and Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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