CLEVELAND — It's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and citizens across the country are encouraged to turn in their unwanted drugs. It's an initiative by the Drug Enforcement Administration to help keep our streets drug free.
"These pills cause addiction. If you live in a home where you may have an addicted family member, this is temptation for them. These pills, they're also a gateway to illicit drugs. It's part of our effort here at the sheriff's department and Cuyahoga County to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic that's still going on," said Capt. Donald Gerome with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department.
The process is simple: You check your medicine cabinets for any pills you don't need. You pack them up and drive them to a drop off location. And then you do just that—drop them off.
"If you have any unused, unwanted or expired pills that you want to turn in (Saturday), we have what we call drop boxes located throughout the county," said Gerome.
Now if you're thinking to yourself, "Well, why can't I just flush them down the toilet or toss them in the trash?" Gerome has an answer for you:
"It's not environmentally safe. We take these pills we take them out to companies that destroy them safely and it's environmentally safe for them. So yeah, don't throw them in the garbage or down the garbage disposal."
There are some items you can't take to the drop off, like liquids and needles. But this year, they are accepting vaping cartridges. Gerome said the drug take back has been going on for eight years. He said just in Cuyahoga County, residents have dropped off thousands of pounds of pills.
"In 2019, we collected over 14,000 pounds of prescription pills that we destroyed. The program has been going on since 2013 and we've destroyed over 80,000 lbs of pills."
Nationally, law enforcement collected 882,919 lbs.
Gerome says they get this question a lot: Will you get arrested for the drugs you drop off?
He said there's no need to fear.
"This is a no-questions-asked and most of these pill boxes they're under surveillance by the police department. There's not actually anybody sitting there or standing there watching you up close. So, it's almost like an anonymous."
There are 66 drop off locations in Cuyahoga County. You can click here to see where you can drop your drugs off.