JOHN DAY - Local law enforcement officials collected unwanted, unneeded or outdated medicines in the first nationwide Prescription Drug Take Back Day launched by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
Organizers were happy with the four-hour event Sept. 25 at the John Day Police Department.
"Not only is it a good program for the community, but it helps people get rid of medications that could be lost or stolen," said John Day Police Chief Rich Tirico.
Reserve officer Jerry Daake noted that several visitors mentioned how glad they were to have a chance to clean out their medicine cabinets.
DEA officials said the event was an effort to reduce prescription drug abuse, prevent accidental ingestion and keep harmful substances out of the nation's water supply.
They say the best way to get rid of unwanted medicines is not to throw them in the trash or the toilet, but to take them to an official DEA drop-off site.
The John Day Police Department has been approved as a permanent drop-off site, the only one in the county. Tirico said people can drop off prescriptions from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. at the side door of the police station; let staff know it's a medicine drop-off.
The medications are incinerated in a special device, Tirico said.
Grant County District Attorney Ryan Joslin said he was impressed with the level of participation at the Take Back event.
"I knew there was a lot of medication out there, but was amazed with the amount turned in," he said.
Grant County Safe Communities Coalition sponsored the event.
"I encourage those who were unable to participate to go through their medicine cabinets and pay a visit to JDPD," said Joslin, who also is a Coalition board member.