Putnam police will hold Drug Take Back collection on April 27

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Fri., Apr. 26, 2013
The Putnam Police Department will soon have a permanent drug take-back box, according to Deputy Chief Lee Konicki. Photo by D. Coffey.
The Putnam Police Department will soon have a permanent drug take-back box, according to Deputy Chief Lee Konicki. Photo by D. Coffey.

The Putnam Police Department will sponsor an Rx Take Back Program on April 27 at the Farmers Market Pavilion on Kennedy Drive. All area residents are encouraged to turn in prescribed drugs that they no longer use.

Putnam has held the program for three years. “The number of people who come out and the volume of drugs we receive makes it worthwhile,” said PPD Deputy Chief Lee Konicki. He estimates that a few hundred pounds of drugs have been collected over the years.

Putnam PRIDE (Partnership to Reduce the Influence of Drugs for Everyone) Chairman Romeo Blackmar said his organization has found drug abuse to be the number-one issue in the last few years because of the amount and number of drugs being prescribed. Synthetic marijuana, painkillers and psychotropic drugs are being abused, he said. “This is an ongoing problem. We want to encourage people to go through their medicine chests and bring in any drugs that are expired, are no longer being taken, or have been left behind by someone who has moved away or passed on. Using medications improperly can endanger people's lives,” he said.

According to a 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than six million Americans abuse prescription drugs. More than 70 percent of people abusing prescription pain relievers got them through friends, relatives or the family medicine cabinet. The take-back is one of four strategies to reduce drug abuse; other strategies include education, a drug monitoring program, and increased enforcement for pill mills and doctor shopping.

The Putnam take-back has been successful within a 10-town area, according to Konicki. “We've even had out-of-staters dropping them off,” he said. “They bring their drugs in and we destroy them,” Konicki said. “It's anonymous. No one will get in trouble for having drugs they aren't supposed to have.”

Putnam will soon have a drug take-back box permanently mounted in the lobby of its dispatch center on Church Street. People will be able to dispose of medications on a 24/7 basis when the box is mounted and has passed all state inspections. Konicki expects that to take place within a matter of weeks.


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