On Saturday, the Danville Police Department teamed up with the DEA for a prescription drug take-back event at police headquarters. The event gave residents an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescriptions.
Although Danville Police did not return calls for comment, Police Chief Steve Simpkins said earlier that the event reduces possibility of abuse or theft of the drugs. April Rovero, founder of the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse estimates the department collected approximately 60 pounds of medication; San Ramon Police collected 44 pounds of medication, said Lt. Tom LaRoque.
Rovero attended the event in support of Red Ribbon Week and said she believes people are becoming more aware of the issues surrounding prescription drugs.
"I think any time you collect medications from people's cabinets it's a success," Rovero said, adding that NCAPDA hopes to make March 2012 a prescription drug awareness month. "It's meant to start a conversation about abuse and misuse."
Rovero's son, Joey, died from a prescription drug overdose in 2009. Rovero has since garnered great community support in her attempts to broaden the discussion about drug abuse and is currently looking for residents to help spearhead the March 2012 effort.
"This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses," a police release read.
In September 2010, Americans turned in 242,000 pounds -- 121 tons -- of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement partners. The Danville Police Department provides also prescription drop-off services drop off pharmaceuticals in a special bin at the front desk of police headquarters.