By: Claire Powell
Saturday, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Des Moines Police Department had drop-off stations for people to dispose of their potentially dangerous, unwanted and expired prescription drugs.
During the last weekend in October, the police officers offer the free and anonymous service to prevent pill abuse and dispose of dangerous drugs.
Last year, the Des Moines Police Department disposed over 800 pounds of drugs. Nationally, Americans turned in over 740,000 pounds of drugs at nearly 5,800 sites.
Around 12 p.m. Saturday, the drop-off station at Walgreens along SE 14th Street already had around 400 pounds to turn in.
The first goal is to keep the drugs out of the hands of abusers in order to avoid overdosing and addiction. However, most importantly, they want to keep the drugs out children's hands and avoid accidental poisonings.
"You know little kids. A six, seven or eight-year-old kid could reach up there and take this kind of drugs that could hurt them," said Senior Police Officer Doua Lor, Des Moines Police Department.
"It is a great program because it keeps it out of the wrong hands and I wouldn't want to poison the birds or any animals or children that might find them," said Christy Webster, Des Moines.
They also aim to keep the environment clean and avoid environmental contamination by the hazardous drugs.
"You don't want this stuff to be going down the drain or down the river to hurt the ecosystems and fish, all the stuff that lives in the water," said Officer Lor.
"It's good for people who don't know where they need to take the stuff. It's better than flushing it, or putting it in the trash and it going back into the system at some point or filtering through the watering system," said Jennifer Holmes, Des Moines.
In the six previous Take Back events, the DEA and partners took in over 2.8 million pounds of pills.
The Des Moines Police Department also has a drop-off box available every week at the police station in downtown Des Moines.