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DEA sponsoring 4 local prescription drug collections on April 27

April 23, 2019 Digital Media Exclusive

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The government wants your unused, expired drugs.

On April 27, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., local law enforcement invites people to drop off their expired prescription drugs. No questions will be asked, according to Sheriff Michael Slupe.

The effort is being held as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration's aim to reduce the number of drugs that could potentially be abused. This will be the 17th collection event in the past nine years.

There will be four locations where people can take their unused pain pills for collection. The sheriff's department will hold two collections, one in Unionville Firehall on Mahood Road in Center Township and another in the Sam's Club on Moraine Pointe Plaza in Butler Township.

The Butler city police will conduct its own collection in the downtown police station. And a fourth collection site will be held by Cranberry Township Police in the rear of the municipal building.

“If you haven't used it, let's get rid of it, so it won't be abused,” Slupe said. “That's what it's about, getting it off the streets. Don't save them if they're passed expiration because they won't be as potent. All you have to do is go back to the doctor and get a new script if you need it.”

While there will be law enforcement overseeing the collection, officers have been instructed to keep the event's participants anonymous. They will not ask for identification, nor will they arrest anyone, according to Paris Pratt, the assistant special agent in charge of the Pittsburgh DEA office.

“We're not trying to arrest anyone on that day,” Pratt said. “We're struggling with substance abuse disorder and prescription pills contribute to that.”

There are a few limits on what will be accepted. Illicit drugs will not be accepted, nor will syringes. Only pill forms — and not liquid forms — will be accepted.

The county's collection is part of a regional effort that the DEA sponsors semi-annually. Last year, the agency collected 11,000 pounds of pills from 64 police departments in 100 collection sites spread across 13 counties. This year, there are 11 counties participating, with 79 police departments operating 108 collection sites.

Pratt noted that dropping the drugs off is the best way to get rid of unused medication.

“Flushing it down the toilet is dangerous,” he said. “That would just put it in our drinking supply.”

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