The Brazoria County Community Coalition has had to narrow the geographic focus of its biannual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, but coordinator Dannielle Meyer interprets that as a sign of the program’s success.
“At one point we had 10 locations just for Take Back, but we had to bring it down to four. The DEA was a little overwhelmed with how many we could provide,” Meyer said. “But I could easily have 10 locations.
Residents can dispense of their unused or unwanted prescription pills at four locations throughout the county from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Agency’s event.
“You don’t even have to get out of your car,” Meyer said. “No questions asked, and it’s free.”
Residents in the northern county can dispose of their medication at the Stella Roberts Recycling Center, 5800 Magnolia St., the Reflective Bay Park, 12115 S. Clear Lake Loop — both in Pearland — and the Manvel Police Department at 6615 CR 1128.
Southern Brazoria County residents can go to the Richwood Police Department, 1800 N. Brazosport Blvd.
Meyer prefers to concentrate most of the resources in Pearland and Manvel, as neither police department has a drop-off box residents can take advantage of 24/7, she said.
Police departments in Alvin, Angleton, Clute, Freeport, Lake Jackson, Richwood, Sweeny, West Columbia, Iowa Colony and Hillcrest Village all have set up such sites, Meyer said.
“I like to focus on those three because they don’t have a drop-box,” she said. “The nine boxes are 24/7, so they have somewhere they can go.”
An 18-wheeler will eventually haul the drugs to a rotary kiln at Dow Chemical Co.’s Freeport site, where the petrochemical company will incinerate them, keeping the medicine both out of landfills and the wrong hands.
Young adults from 18 to 25 years old are the biggest abusers of prescription drugs, primarily opioid pain relievers, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder stimulants and anti-anxiety drugs, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
“Just in our dropbox, we take 3,000 pounds out of the environment,” Meyer said. “It’s pretty easy. It doesn’t take a whole lot of manpower or education.”
The coalition collected 800 pounds of pills during its last take-back event, and those numbers alone show the program’s impact, Meyer said.
“First of all, people are paying attention because they know they need to get the medication out of there. The dialogue that was created is probably the biggest,” she said. “It’s been remarkable, to say the least, how we’ve been able to take these medications out of these medicine cabinets.”